Happy Veteran’s Day 2013. Take a moment and thank a veteran or an active service member today for your freedom. It doesn’t come for free. When we remember to be thankful for the things we have they become that much more important in our lives. There are people in the world who don’t have enough to eat, shelter or medicine. There are people who cannot speak their thoughts. There are people who don’t have access to education and knowledge; things that I believe are taken for granted in the US. Remember that early in the establishment of this nation our forefathers thought that these and other beliefs were important enough to fight and die for. Which is why we have days like today. The majority of people who live in poverty in the US would be considered wealthy in many places in this world.
Take a few minutes today and forget the upcoming holiday lists and general every day consumerism and think about what you already have. Thank someone who believed in those things enough to stand between you and those who would take that away from you.
It sounds silly when you write it out like that. Of course I’m not a superhero. I can’t do everything. We get so caught up in our daily lives that are filled with Have-To’s versus Want-To’s. And a lot of the time we feel like we have to do it all. I’ve come to the conclusion that I cannot do it all.
Are you a list maker? Do you ever make it to the end of your list? You’re a rarity if you do. Most people have more things to do in one day than can get done. When I make lists and I finally end up crossing something off I generally have something else to add to it. It’s a never ending cycle.
So what can be done to mitigate that? Priorities. I set up my day so that I get the Most Important things done first. If I do that and get those crossed off my list all the rest is bonus because I feel like I’ve done something worthwhile that day. You know what happens on the days that I don’t do that? I feel completely rotten. (And sometimes I take it out on those unlucky individuals around me.) Do I have anyone to blame but myself? Nope. Does this work every day? Nope. But it works out better most days and sometimes that is all we can ask for.
Life is organic. It comes and it goes. Sometimes we are so busy we cannot see the end of the road. Sometimes we float. All I can do to control my day is make sure the important stuff gets done first. And you know what? The important stuff can change from day to day. This is why we call it life. Today my Important Stuff is complete. What have you done today? Write on.
I love this magnet. I hang it wherever it makes the most sense that day. We spend so much of our lives worrying about failure. Well, I say forget that. Going back to what the National Park Service attributes to Thomas Edison at National Historical Park, New Jersey, “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.” Astound yourself. Believe in yourself. If that one doesn’t work for you, here’s another: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Get to work. Write on.
I figure it’s kind of pointless to blog about NaNoWriMo. If you’re participating you’re probably not reading this. If you are reading this and participating . . . GET BACK TO WRITING! It’s only day 4 out of 30. You can do anything for 30 days. GO! GO! GO!
Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.
The same can be said for your work. If your book, work, art, passion or whatever is still inside you, it is too dark to see it. Get out there and get it done. You’ll feel better.
Creation of any kind is work. What separates artists from the herd are the ones who work. If you’re not working it is a choice. You can call it being blocked or uninspired or whatever. It is a choice all the same. Sometimes there are real things that do have to get done in life to keep everything going. If this is not one of those times, and you know what they are: disease, death, survival, or any number of things around those themes, you choose how to spend your time. Today, I’m writing. Write on.
No matter how old I get there is always something I’m scared about. I have a feeling that it is always going to be this way. Fear is a part of my life. Is it part of yours? If not, why not?
I look in the mirror and I see two reflections of myself: one the young me afraid of everything but still ready to take on the world, and the other the current me who has lost some battles, done some really stupid stuff, and yet done some really cool things that I never would have imagined. Fear affects how we think, what we decide to do, and the way we see things in the world. Ever feel like you’re a fraud and you don’t really belong here? Ever think, “Wow, someone is going to realize what tripe this is and laugh me out of the room.” This is the fear I’m talking about. Do you really have any idea what you’re doing? I don’t. And I’m ok with that.
Fear is a motivator for me. It pushes me to do bigger things. I look around while I’m doing these things and if I’m not afraid then it might be time to change something. You cannot change directions while you stand still. If you try you’re spinning in circles. What are you afraid of and why does it scare you? Did the answer surprise you?
Here’s the thing about fear: we all feel it. The key is to do it anyway. Do your best. Put your work out there. Challenge yourself to do more, be more. I believe that to be human is to be afraid. I’m scared no one will understand this. I did it anyway.
You don’t know how to write. Who would read this? It’s boring. What are you doing? You’re wasting your time. You really can’t write. Just don’t bother. Go about doing the chores and don’t worry your little head about creating something. You don’t have anything new to say. What makes you think that if you write it someone will want to read it? Where do you think you get your ideas? This has all been done before. You call that entertaining? You think you know how this other person will react? You can’t recognize truth if it bites you. And you will piss off people. You can’t possibly think that this is the only way to handle things? Your writing sucks. You might as well just use it as toilet paper because that’s all this is good for. People will hate this. And what makes you think that you have something worthwhile to say? No one cares what you think or write. Just get over yourself and see the writing on the wall. You’re nothing, nobody, and don’t have anything to say that anyone else would ever want to read.
This is your internal editor or critic trying to get the best of you whenever you attempt to do something creative. Have you been listening to it more than you want to admit? We all do. It’s always there. Why do you think anyone cares? Because we are all people and the human condition drives some of us to try and create, write or speak about it. Being human isn’t easy. We doubt. We let potential go to waste. We are fragile in ways that we are afraid to admit to others. Embrace that fragility and help someone see that it is okay to be different. You write. She paints. He sculpts. All of these things are wonderful because they are part of who we are. Turn off the editor. Say no to the critic. Do. Be. Create. Write. This is the beauty of life that is sometimes lost or forgotten. Your uniqueness is what makes these things interesting. Not everyone will like it. That is okay too. But you’ll never know if someone does if you don’t create in the first place.
You know those things that tempt you away from what you’ve set out to do. Or it could be anything that is preventing you from doing what you want or need to do. They crop up when you least expect them.
There is always something out there that is pulling you away from your goals. I don’t know what it is about setting a goal for yourself that brings these things to the forefront when you’ve committed to yourself (and maybe others) that you’re going to change or do something different, but they do appear. Family obligations that have to be done just then. Sudden minor emergencies. People who insist on calling, texting, e-mailing, tweeting or whatever while you’re trying to work. Whatever it is, if it isn’t life threatening, it can wait.
Guard your creative time. These interruptions are just distractions. People don’t really mean to invade your work time, but they do it. I hate to say it’s human nature, but it is. People are competitive. When you start to do something different, unexpected, or change in any way, challenges come from those who can be closest to you. These people are used to the way things were. If the phone is the problem, turn off the ringer. Don’t check your email. Turn off the distraction, whatever it may be. If you don’t respect your work time, no one else will. And I guarantee you, if you don’t respect it you won’t get anything done.
Distractions are just that: distractions. Don’t get pulled off course from your goals. Write on.