Doing it for Myself, Pretending I Did it For Someone Else

In the last three days, I’ve finished Chapter 12, completed and posted a poem, and made a thirty item list of potential blog topics.  I may also have settled on the plot of the novella I want to write for a contest.  Social pressure, real or imagined, is apparently an amazing motivation for me.  I’ve never been good about following through on promises I make to myself; I’ll procrastinate until frustration mounts to volcanic levels, or at least until I collapse into a pathetic self-pitying heap and realize that I’ll never stop demeaning myself until I actually do something besides bringing home a paycheck and paying the bills.  Despite a blemish-free history of solitary homework procrastination, where the telltale feel of warm paper slipping into my professor’s hands was always a humiliating revelation that, yes, I had just printed that assignment, I’ve always behaved myself for groups.  I cannot stand to let someone else suffer because of my actions, or lack thereof.  In brief, I hate disappointing others.  When I was 10, my mother woke up at 4 one morning, and seeing the light on in the living room, was mystified (oh, all right–appalled) to discover her youngest child sprawled on the carpet with an ancient, clacking typewriter because I had promised to type the entire report so the rest of my group members didn’t have to.  Did I mention I’m completely craven when it comes to taking on responsibility, even if it’s more than I can handle?

“Of course, I’ll…”

“Oh, it’s no problem; I’ll do it!”

And so on.  Earlier this evening my manager came back from the bar and  was surprised to see that I was still at work while my coworkers had been gone for almost an hour.  “You know you can make them stay and help you, right?” he reminded me.  “Oh, yeah, of course, but it’s sort of my job…” I began in wishy-washy fashion, knowing full well that I could have shoved at least 30% of what I do every night off on the newbies, who I have seniority, and *gulp*, position over (technically; I try not to think about that part).

I finished work and went home, and that’s when I finally asked myself, “When was the last time I did something, just for me?”

Answer: I have absolutely no idea.  Maybe this blog is the answer to that question.  After all, a blog is a pretty convenient way of deluding myself into believing there’s social pressure when in all actuality I’m the one who makes the promises, sets the guidelines, and reaps the benefits.  I could, theoretically, drop off the blogging radar at any time, and the person my disappearance would most effect would be me.  Isn’t the real reason I’m blogging because I know I need an illusion to motivate myself into actually doing something I want to do?  I think it is.

So, in reality, I started a blog as self-manipulation, and it’s actually working.

I’ve never been so proud.


One thought on “Doing it for Myself, Pretending I Did it For Someone Else

  1. Congratulations! You’ve made some serious progress over the last 3 days!
    I couldn’t help but grin while reading this. I must be a coward, too. I think it would save time to set “Oh, it’s no problem; I’ll do it!” as my ringtone.
    I think it’s good for a writer to tap into online social outlets. Feedback is important, especially in a craft like writing. The process can become very reclusive. I don’t want to become the solitary member of my own literary monastery.

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