Note before we begin: After reading this, it reads like a reintroduction, but only if you know me personally already. If you are reading this, it is working under the assumption that you are a friend. Sometime this week, I’ll throw up something for those who may not know all of my intimate details.
Here we go again.
There is a line of thinking that the hardest part of anything is getting started. The internet is filled with just as many sites with ideas about how to fight procrastination as there are porn sites. One could argue a connection. ”A journey of a thousands miles begin with a single step“ and all that jazz. I disagree. The hardest part of any journey is the SECOND step. Many people start a journey, only to abandon it soon after. Hell, look at the date of the first blog post. The moment something or somebody takes the second action, that’s when it becomes real to me. It is one thing to gather your ingredients, but it’s another mess of things to take the wide ranging items and try to make a complete whole out of them. Now that I’m officially taking the second step after a long, long time on the first, I might as well explain why it’s taken so long.
(Before I go on, just a note that I’m not trying to slight people who have trouble getting over the first hump. I understand why the advice is given the way it is and, as a procrastinator, I understand. I also am not coming at people who stop projects because of unforeseen circumstances. Sometimes life just gets in the way. Still, the literal billions of abandoned web pages offer some evidence of what I’m talking about. and yes, I know that’s anecdotal. I was never good at the scientific method. )
First, I am an expert, a wunderkund, at abandonding a project the minute a degree of difficulty rears its’ ugly head. But if you don’t tackle the difficult things, you say how do you ever expect to get better at what you want to do? Obviously, if I wasn’t granted the skill to do something perfectly the first time, I was never meant to do it. When it comes to hobbies and work, I’m remarkably Calvinist. There is a longer thread there about fear and its’ paralzying charms, but I plan on saving that for another day. I have to leave something for the future.
Segundo, can it be better? By putting this or any work out into the aether, that is stating “This is done.” With that comes an acknowledgment that the level it’s sent out as is the best it can be, that it is in its’ final draft. Unfortunately, it is impossible to create something that is perect, that can not be improved on in any way. Still, we think it can be. So, we don’t put it out there trying to make it ”good enough.“ If you keep working to make it good enough, it never gets out there. I think it was Faulkner (English majors help me out) who once said that ”books are never done; they just have to be turned in.“ Blogging, more so than the other types of output, actually requires more of a sense of desposability. Much like golden era comic books or the pulp magazines, less thought has to be given to the idea that the work created will last forever and more focus needs to be placed towards being entertaining and informative in the here and now.
As I’m writing this, I actually have Guns N Roses on in the background. If there is ever a good example of taking so much time to polish something that it ends up being terrible, Axl’s ”Chinese Deomcracy“ stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Third, It’s public. I realize she was taking about other, more lofty artistic pursuits, but Terri Windling once compared placing art into the public sphere to walking down the street naked. If you are planning to do that, you would obviously want to have worked out before then, be super toned, looking absolutely fantastic. This is never the case and really to create something worthwhile, it can’t be the story. If you plan on doing something, you are going to have throw yourself out there, no matter what you look like. This doesn’t mean ”stop working out“ or ”stop improving what you are working on.“ This does mean you have to be some masure of fearless (Can you be ”mildly fearless?“ ”slightly“ unafraid?) This does mean forgetting about the inevitable talking behind you as you walk.
This is all rather scattershot. Not a putdown or an instinctual admission of guilt, but rather a fact. The important thing, for me, is that it is a step. A step forward, no less. Without much editing, I’m throwing this up online and hope to post about 1000 words a day, every day, barring something completely out of left field. If fine folks like John Scalzi and Theodora Goss and Cory Doctorow can do it, I can certainly make it work. Hopefully, some of you will stay with me, enjoy what you read, and talk back. If not, oh well. I’m still going to keep writing anyway.
It can’t get much worse, can it? (Don’t answer that.)