Tired or Inspired? Irrelevant, I Say!
Today, I shall play the provocateur for a moment of your time. I am beat. I’m 94.7368% done with the project I’m currently working on, huzzah, so I thought this as good a time as any to speak about something particularly topical to yours truly. It’s running the marathon.
Traditionally, I bounce around between a lot of projects. It’s not to say I lack the ability to concentrate or focus; on the contrary, I like to buckle down and knock out whatever it is I’m working on. You might say I’m goal oriented and you would be right. There comes a point in every project where you hit a wall. If you’re a runner or watched a runner or have ever run in your life, you know what I’m talking about. There comes the point where the running is not fun anymore and your legs ache and your head aches and your side feels like an alien baby has awakened and wants to chew on your intestines for awhile and you want to stop. Your logical brain is saying “hey, buddy, what’s the hurry? This is the 21st century and there is no saber-toothed tiger chasing you. The only predators might be thugs and criminals who want to shake you down, but you’re a game designer. Once you tell them that, they’ll open up their wallets and donate to the cause. Right?” In any case, the logical impulse is to stop. You have obviously hit your limit, and you should stop. Logic, however, is not your forte. Well, it may be, but the endorphin fix you crave lies beyond the wall. There is a runner’s high and there is a writer’s high. There is a momentary glory of getting something done you’ve been working on for a week, a month, a year, and it’s a private moment. Even if you post about it or tweet or FB or whatever, it’s a singular moment belonging just to you where what you have done is still yours. Like a fresh coat of paint on your bedroom wall or the cushy leather seats of your new car, other people will put their fingerprints on your work soon enough and it won’t be pristine or yours anymore. It transforms into another state. It becomes ours.
We crave this little moment and we type our fingers down to bloody stump chasing this little dragon of ours. Just like with running, you may stagger the last quarter mile or hundred feet. You may puke your guts out or suffer dry heaves or collapse from your effort. It doesn’t matter. You own the moment. You have hit your goal. If the writing is not the best stuff you’ve done, I don’t care, and you shouldn’t either. You have completed the process and you can take a little break and revisit it as something which needs revisions at a later date. You have made the base and it’s onwards and upwards from there. Last week, I hit the wall and smashed through it and am woozily approaching the finish line. It would certainly be easier (and more fun) to take a break from this project and work on something else for a bit, but it won’t get this thing done. Since it’s part of a bigger thing, I cannot venture where my head-space will be if I waited and revisited some of the material a year from now. I’ve done that before, thinking I could just pick it right back up where I left off. Learn from my mistake. That way lies madness.
Go forth. Do good things and, for the love of all that’s holy, finish those good things one by one.
Until next time, I bid you, dear reader, adieu!