It would seem only fitting that with both a career & hobbies that are both deemed creative, that one would seek all of the inspiration that they could. Researching, reading, seeking… whether it be another article in the latest food publication to inspire a menu, or a YouTube video with some pointers on where I can point the camera, I had to realize that, at times, reading someone else’s writing was simply my justification for not doing my own work. And, I believe that’s where this has once again rounded its way around the track to find myself at a familiar land. The one in which I remember, nothing can replace doing the work.
Here we sit, in seemingly Year 6 of the Pandemic! Coronavirus has had us sheltered, divided up amongst those who are essential, and those who simply need those essentials. All the time in the world, and yet, if I was to compare where I could have been at, should I have held myself to a productivity standard through one of the most uniquely strange, challenging, & fear inducing times of my lifetime, I may believe I “should have” done more. So, before we go too far from here, let me throw out a disclaimer: I am not subscribing to this theory.
First off, as I’ve mentioned, I don’t know how to handle a shutdown of the world. Myself, nor millions of my fellow humans know how to handle this seemingly apocalyptic time from experience. We all trudge, and hopefully fight to live another day. Secondly, any time I spend in the purgatory known as regret, reminding myself that if I had started something earlier I’d be further along, is another moment I am not present. It is also crucial to remember, if all things happen as they should, I wasn’t who I needed to be to get started until I actually begin. The reminder here is in the earlier sentiment that most of the things I work on; cooking, writing, photography, etc. are almost exclusively derived from a feeling, a vibe, a calling. When the tumbleweeds roll by, and the cobwebs form, it can become almost crippling to get out of the starting block.
Ok, so I believe the point has been stressed that inspiration is key to my progression. Alternatively, procrastination? Well, that’s a foe that has all been all to overbearing at times. What I’ve learned through countless hours, days, whatever, is that at times, I am capable of accomplishing a ton in matters of quantity. But, at the end of the day, many goals will still have not been met, ideas stalled into a state close to preconception. The amount of ‘work” I’ve actually done just to avoid doing the real work, the creative, the inspired, the fulfilling, is hysterically ironic, in a very non-amusing way. Projects I have put off for a while, or even chores, repainting the walls… all examples of things I’m willing to do rather than sit. I recently read something relatable in the book “The War Of Art”. To paraphrase, “The writer doesn’t have a problem writing, they have a problem sitting down to write.”
This proves true, in my experince. Yes, when my back is up against the wall, I can accomplish miracles. Like in 7th grade, putting off for a whole month the science project I would start & complete the night before it was due, to receive one of my rare A+ grades. In hindsight, maybe that teacher didn’t do me any favors as I’ve seemed to develop my own quiet in the chaos. Even knowing that the last time in a given situation, I could have avoided the stress and prepared better, got more out of the way earlier, set myself up for success, given the opportunity? Amnesia kicks in and well, lets just say I’ve wondered how I’ve gotten here again.
It could seem to some that this is simply my admission to getting distracted easily, that I sit in a place always wishing I had done more. As these are not exactly untrue statements, they are not the purpose of this writing. The purpose of this is proof. The motive behind the words you’re reading is served as the example that rather than sit here, regret not writing earlier, and opt to sit lost in my thoughts, I began to type. My desire is to remind myself, among sharing with others, that no matter how crazy the world is outside of our front door, how quickly comparisons & frustrations can set in scrolling social media, and how many things you have yet to complete (or even start for that matter), there is a simple fix. Get to work.
Don’t worry about finishing it all today, and definitely don’t let the impossibility of finishing tomorrow deter you from working today. I’m better, more productive with smaller goals, doable tasks. I’ve also personally witnessed those baby steps turn into strides. It’s also becoming more apparent that every word I type, every recipe I attempt that turns into a success or lesson, & every photo I take that I may think just isn’t worth the push of the shutter, they’re all parts to the puzzle. They become part of my experience, components to my process.
As I look up, I see the words accumulating. Another blog entry is done. I have completed a task, and I feel accomplished. You undoubtedly know that feeling, and the avoidance that feeling may have in your life could be something you relate to or not, I don’t think that’s the important take away here. But, if you have at least taken a moment to read this, allowing me to share my experience, then maybe you’ve had a slight adjustment in perspective to realize that just because you haven’t yet, doesn’t mean you can’t. So, do it. Find that passion, find that thing you’ve avoided that could bring you joy, and block off some time for you. Those around you, known or not, will benefit from what you have to offer.
Many limitations we have are placed by ourselves. Therefore, allow yourself to break through them. No telling what may be on the other side. Best of luck!