That “New Shiny” Feeling

So as I gear up for Blaugust I’ve begun discovering a few things that, quite honestly, I hadn’t really anticipated. A lot of it has been facing down some of my own demons. The ghosts of projects past and all that.

It started with the idea that if I’m going to do this, I might as well go for broke and try to write every day. Once I processed the amount of content that was I began to wonder how on earth I was going to come up with that much to talk about.  So I went out and grabbed a graph ruled composition notebook for a dollar.

Any time I found myself thinking about something at length or with interest I wrote it down as a potential topic. I had a nice little list going before I knew it and was quite surprised at this.  I don’t think of myself as someone who has a lot to say, so where is all this coming from?

The first thing I realized is that this project is currently suffering from the “New Shiny” effect. It’s a new thing, I’m learning about it, I’m doing it, it’s got that surge of energy that comes along with any new project.

I typically describe it as a live high voltage wire. It has a massive amount of energy and power within it.  It’s so easy to just grab the wire and soak in that energy. It’s so alive and energetic. Unfortunately I have a tendency to either hold onto it, due to limited ways to use it, or dump it all at once into the thing of interest.  Both of these tend to lead to burnout, in different ways.

In the first case, I spend so much time thinking about the thing I want to do that I burn all the energy on creating grand plans of all the cool things I’m going to do once I obtain the means to do so.  Researching equipment, tools, how to make my own if I need to, where to get materials, etc.  Once it comes time to actually do the thing, the power is gone, leaving me with a huge seemingly impossible plan and a lot of work to make it happen.

In the second case I have most of the tools and resources I need, I just have to do some light research and go do the thing. Unfortunately, I do the thing all the time. It consumes my every waking moment, I think about it constantly, sometimes to the exclusion and/or detriment of the things I should actually be focused on.  After usually a week or two of this sustained effort, all that energy has been run to ground and it’s up to me to provide the power to sustain the effort.

This is obviously in the second category.  WordPress enabled me to immediately begin testing the edges. It doesn’t cost anything but time, right? So I made a couple of test posts about things on my mind at the time, then began to tinker with it in earnest. Even this post is part of my testing. I’m trying to get a feel for what writing every day feels like. This post was, in itself, on my list of topics. I looked through the list, picked one I felt ready to tackle, and sat down to work on it.

The good news is, I’m aware of the new shiny and how I tend to react to it. This knowledge allows me to be prepared and avoid some of the pitfalls I have fallen into in the past. At least I hope so.

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