I haven’t posted in awhile— super busy lately. I’m working to finish the final draft of YA novel, get a brand new podcast off the ground in the next week or so, and get ready to go do a writing residency in France for the month of September! I’ve been so damn busy I started to feel overwhelmed. I wasn’t having fun anymore. So I took a couple days off and just lay around on the beach. It was fantastic and now I feel recharged!
One thing I’ve learned recently is that while it’s important to set goals it is also good to know when to adjust those goals if they are not realistic. I was pushing myself hard with my writing to finish my next book by the end of this month. But I realized as the date approached and I still had hundreds of pages to edit that this was nuts! I had set too ambitious of a goal.
It is a place that I think most of us are familiar with. If you are someone who works on creative projects ( be that writing, painting, music, theater whatever) than often the pace that you want to go at is up to you.There are two ways this can go wrong. We can either work to fast or two slow.
The most common mistake is probably to work too slow; you can just never get started. You can keep waiting and waiting for that perfect day, that perfect idea, etc. to come along. And just never push yourself to grow as a creator. I love this quote by Ira Glass about this:
Don’t wait for permission to make something that’s interesting or amusing to you. Just do it now. Don’t wait. Find a story idea, start making it, give yourself a deadline, show it to people who’ll give you notes to make it better. Don’t wait till you’re older, or in some better job than you have now. Don’t wait for anything. Don’t wait till some magical story idea drops into your lap. That’s not where ideas come from. Go looking for an idea and it’ll show up. Begin now. Be a fucking soldier about it and be tough.
— Ira Glass
This is great advice. I love it. And it seems the world is full of great quotes about how you need to cowboy up, be a fucking soldier, and get it done. I agree.
But what you don’t hear enough of is sometimes you need to slow down, to take it easy, to balance out the get tough, get going stuff etc. And take it easy on yourself. And make sure you are still enjoying it. I guess this post is just a reminder to myself, and everybody else out there working on their thing: if you’re not having fun what’s the point? Take time to enjoy it, to enjoy what your working on, be patient with your art and yourself, because it does take time to make something good. Also if you are not enjoying your art what is the point? If you are in it for the money you’re better off being a corporate drone. You should enjoy the hell out of your writing or your art, your music, your comedy stand-up etc. That doesn’t mean something can’t feel like challenging work too, it should be both. It’s a balance.
There is a quote I used to hear from other teachers when I taught high school that sums it up:
Go slow to go fast.