Discover more from Just Enough to Get Me in Trouble
This is my submission for the upcoming Soaring Twenties Social Club Symposium issue. The theme is “Beginnings”.
You don’t criticize a plant blooming in Spring. You don’t curse a baby bird for figuring out how to fly. You don’t berate someone who goes back to school to learn something new.
And yet, you criticize yourself for needing to start over.
Let’s say you, I don’t know, begin a memoir book project. You’re excited about it at first. You buy a subscription to a book-writing tool. You buy books to learn about the craft. You set aside time and regularly chip away at it—dutifully writing scenes and chapters. But then life throws various forms of crap your way. And so the day-to-day grind and struggles and basic life stuff fill up all your available time and your enthusiasm atrophies.
And yet, you still have the urge to mold your story into a piece of lasting art. A piece of art that can impact others. A piece of art that can speak for others—even though it’s your specific story.
You’re upset with yourself for not dedicating the time to tell your story fully. You wonder where all of the hours have gone. You know you need to consume great art in order to create great art, but you’re also like, “C’mon, you don’t need to consume that much.” You worry that you’ll never finish the damn thing.
You know you feel best when you’ve made something and put it out into the world. But you also know that’s why such a big project feels more daunting and abstract. Because the gratification is delayed. You can’t get feedback on a weekly basis like you can in other ways.
And yet, you know that you have the ability to pull it off.
The beginning of a new year flips a switch in your mind. You’re tired of playing short-term games—placating to opaque algorithms and feeling the need to keep up with ~~all of the things~~. What you really want is to be known as an artist. What you really want is to be known as a prolific artist. And you know that an ambitious long-form project is one of many steps in the long-term game you need to be playing instead.
You realize that the time passing has given you more distance from the tumultuous events you’re writing about. You realize that the time passing has allowed you to refine your skills more. You realize that the time passing is actually a gift.
And so you consider how it all went awry. You had inadvertently mixed a cocktail of imposter syndrome, self-doubt, and busyness. And you drank from it constantly. But mostly, you didn’t take the right approach for such a large project and it was destined to be mired in a stop-start, stop-start loop forever.
So you regroup. You hire a coach to help you get your house in order. You create a plan. You ask an extremely generous friend to help keep you accountable. You thank yourself for the work you’ve already completed. You sit your ass down each day and do the work.
And you begin, again.
Because it’s what you’re meant to do.
If you liked this piece, could you please let me know by giving the heart button below a tap?