Some days I wonder if I’m being my own worst enemy (again) and trying too hard to control every single part of my life, including my writing. Trying to make it work out perfectly the first time. Trying not to make rookie mistakes.
I know some of this is in reaction to my former 90s life in which I reacted to everything and there was little to no self-control at all, but it’s also due to my ten-plus years at the Former Day Job in which I had to make sure everything did work the first time to avoid risk, fines and other financial nightmares.
Which, to be honest, is in opposition to how Real Life tends to work most of the time. Life is messy. Sometimes uncontrollable. Often contradictory. Rarely perfect or pure. Often times you need to just run with what you’ve got and make it work somehow.
I’ve noticed recently that whenever I have A Day with my writing, it’s because I’m trying way too damn hard to control all the moving parts, and it’s not just because of creative block. I become one of those painters forever touching up their masterpiece but never quite finishing it. I get nervous because Oh God What If I Don’t Have Any More Stories, especially after I’ve finished up a few projects I’m rather fond and proud of. I get worried because my portfolio is so thin on the ground and probably not all that impressive by professional standards. I get stressed because I fear I’ll never break through that one particular professional obstacle, forever stuck in the minor leagues.
These last few months have been a bit of a wake-up call in terms of long-game goals for me. I know I have all the tools and the mindset to start something, but I get too focused on the pessimistic what-ifs and worry that I’ll make a bad first impression and ruin my chances, or that no one will listen or care. But I’ve learned, and remembered, that the best way for me to work past all that has been something I’ve been telling myself since that summer in 1995: just shut the fuck up and DO it already.
I don’t always hear myself when I say those words, and sometimes I have to fight my way towards them, but they’ve never let me down in the past. I just need to repeat those words whenever I start doubting myself. Which, thankfully, has been happening far less often nowadays.
Let’s see where this goes.