Constraining myself – a schedule

After writing my goodbye to Let’s Go Tribe, I thought that I would immediately start back up in this place, exploring things that interested me but had be shunted to the side in favor of baseball writing. Now the possibilities were endless, the space limitless, and time abundant. You can see those sentiments in the post below. So why was nothing posted here since then?

 Habits are hard to break, but new habits are even harder to form. I spent 12 years formally (and a couple years before that informally) writing about one subject, and it had become a deep and smooth groove. And no, I wouldn’t call it a rut; that word evokes feelings of drudgery, and while at times I felt frustration at the process, at no point did I dread thinking or writing about baseball. In fact, I’d like to continue to do so.

Once I pushed myself into a LGT post, I was able to quickly finish it, as I had all that well-worn experience to draw on. The happenings of the previous three hours may have been new, but there was always a past piece of specific writing to tie to it, no matter how bizarre the events. It was a baseball game that had a beginning, a middle, and an end. There were key plays, key decisions, and key performances that accounted for the outcome. There were larger issues to talk about (the division race, a positional battle, an injury), and there were player and manager reactions to parse. If you stretched things you could bring in non-baseball content, but you couldn’t let the non-baseball overwhelm the baseball.

Time was also a useful constraint, as it forced me to quickly grasp the important bits to convey without dithering about perfection. The recaps, which was most of my output at LGT, generally needed to be up less than an hour after the final out, or it wouldn’t receive the optimal number of views. At worst it needed to be up by the following morning, and since I needed to sleep, that generally meant I needed to either finish the recap in the couple hours between the end of the game and the end of my waking hours, or to get up early and finish the recap before heading to work. Deadlines tend to focus the mind and the writing, which I count as overall a good habit, though subtlety and polish necessarily had to be left out. There is only a first draft in writing on a short deadline.

Climbing out of that groove to see the expanse of topics surrounding me was both exhilarating and terrifying. The structure that both constrained and comforted me was gone, and in its place was complete freedom, or what I would later learn was really chaotic freedom. I wasn’t constrained by something else any longer, but neither was I constrained by myself. I was making grandiose, open-ended plans, but hadn’t thought much of the practical steps needed to accomplish them. Perhaps I liked the idea of having freedom rather than using freedom.

To get more specific, over the past couple months I started many different posts, all with broad themes, but never could seem to stay in focus. The paragraphs would dart off in every sort of direction and couldn’t be tied neatly together at the end. I was trying to go everywhere at once but ended up going nowhere. And so, while I have plenty of ideas to mine for the future, I didn’t have anything I felt comfortable in exposing to the world.

So that’s why I’m placing some constraints on myself. I’m going to start out with baseball while making feeble forays into other subjects. My plan is to do one post a week (on Mondays), with baseball posts alternating weekly with other things. Next Monday (February 25th) will be something about the Indians, while the Monday after (March 5th) will be about something else (which is down to a just a couple specific subjects).  I know that most of you came by this place, whether many years ago or in the past several months, because of the Indians, and I still want to write about them. This schedule also gives me an opportunity to write about other subjects as they pop up. The relaxed time frame gives me a deadline but allows enough time to be more contemplative.

I’ll be posting links to my posts on my Twitter feed if you want to follow that way, or you can use the RSS feed if you have a feed reader. I would also appreciate any feedback you might give, whether it be on potential Indians subjects or anything else.

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