Keeping Promises

In response to today’s Daily Prompt, Promises.

Confession: I’m a serial blog starter. I’ve gone through more than I can count over the course of my Internet career. Angelfire, Livejournal, Blogspot, WordPress, I’ve done them all. Usually I can make it a good couple months before time and interest peter out. Setting deadlines for myself just isn’t something I’m good at. I might be my harshest editor,  but I’m my most forgiving agent – “Well, you were supposed to write that night, but there was pizza and a scary movie to watch, so I’ll let this one slide.”

Previously, blogging was more of an outlet for me. A way of venting without worrying about one of my parents flipping through my journals, an activity my mother harbored no misgivings about. I typed away with little thought to the words I was putting on screen. I was just part of a big network of friends all sharing their every thought and feeling with the great wide world. Things were different when it was just about entertainment, or an emotional outlet. Then I started thinking about it as a task.

First, I tried to blog my way through my academic career and early professional forays. I think I managed four posts on grad school activities, and two or three at most on my work ventures before that attempt fell by the wayside. After I moved to my current city, I meant to document my acclimation to my new home, with the odd book or product review. My schedule was erratic at best in those early days – I alternated between being overwhelmingly busy and wanting nothing to do but vegetate on my couch. I developed some serious health issues that were draining to deal with. In short, my state of mind wasn’t exactly conducive to staying on a schedule. I couldn’t even keep the promises I was making to myself, never mind to my blog, and any audience real or imagined.

The Alexandria Archives presented me with an interesting opportunity…and a conundrum. I like writing. I like to believe I write well. But what I’d REALLY like is to write on a schedule – to keep a promise to myself, at last. But the fact is, I’m bad at that. What I’m much better at is keeping promises to other people. Maybe it was my Catholic upbringing, but obligations bring with them a dogged, crushing guilt when they aren’t met. And after years of selling myself short, I figured it was time to really put myself out there – to share my work, and maybe even make some profit from it. I got my first paid writing gig a month ago, and was over the moon. And for the first time in a long time, I found myself really, REALLY enjoying what I was working on.

Collaborating with the guys has been…well, to be frank, at times it’s been like pulling teeth. Without anesthetic. Also the dentist has been drinking, and he and his assistant are no longer speaking. But mostly it’s been fun. And writing as part of a team has been a whole new experience. Like it or not, there’s a schedule to be met, and we have to keep each other on task. The first episode took weeks to record and produce. The second, days. It’s now in post-production, and it looks like we’re going to make our broadcast date with time to spare. Because we made a promise to each other, and to listeners real and imagined. It’s a promise we renew every time we finish a script, or a short, or volunteer to think of something clever to post to social media.

I hope we can keep making these promises, and meeting them.

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