Good ‘ol Beginnings
July 5, 2016
So it’s summer.
The birds are making noise, the sky is there, and people are happy or at least good at pretending to be. And true to my calling, I’m ignoring it all.
Well, I suppose that’s not entirely true. I rolled my keg of margarita mix outside yesterday and I must admit, it wasn't disastrous. The sun was… not cold.
If the metric ton of margaritas I recently consumed didn’t give it away, I must say that lately I’ve been struggling to hit my desired writing goal, both in terms of work and enjoyment. And if I’m being completely serious, which if you know me is actually super hard, it’s been a hella frustrating experience.
I did some thinking this morning (don’t you dare), and narrowed it down to the realization I probably have difficulties with beginnings. It’s either that, or the fact I’ve developed an addiction to stealing penguins.
If you’re wondering how many you can get away with without attracting attention, the rather scary turning point is seven. That is unless you start replacing them with toddlers in tuxedos, in which case you can get away with fourteen if you’ve got a good makeup guy.
Anyway, that useless attempt at humour aside, I’ve been forced to confront the ugly face that is ‘starting something new all the time.’ We all know starting stuff isn't always easy, and I don't really know why this period has been different, but these past weeks I’ve been moving at a speed akin to being submerged in a massive vat of peanut butter, and not the good kind. That gross chunky kind that would, at least I presume, make it rather difficult to write.
I don't know, perhaps this is case and point right here. Nothing is flowing as it should.
Dragging myself to work lately has been exactly that, a quite gruesome crusade in which I might as well be towed behind a horse face down, muttering the whole time about how much “I just can’t” and “how dope season six of GoT was.”
We all hit working low points, I know, I’ve acquired quite the collection at home, but I think this is because lately a lot of my work has been centred on beginning a bunch of little things instead of chipping away at something longterm or continual.
And I believe there layith the problem.
Bastards, all of ‘em.
But also, beginnings, could you please just be a little easier? Like please? Because I really just can’t even right now. And I need to really just can even.
You feel me?
Part of the reason beginnings are slippery little asshats is pretty obvious I think. I mean, you’ve got to come up with something where there is nothing. That’s science, right? Even a career penguin kidnapper like myself can understand that’s a lot harder than adding more to something that already exists.
But I think the problem with starting new things goes further than that too. There’s also this pressure that comes with a beginning that is far harder to live up to than most of us expect, or so I suspect, myself.
What I mean is that we just assume that creating something new comes at the same pace as working on something already in motion, and I think that’s a mistake. A common one I see pretty much all around me. I’m aware I may not sound too sane right about now, but bear with me.
Quick side note: for the first draft of this post instead of ‘bear with me’ I had ‘bare with me’ above, which to my great amusement I now just realized is in fact an invitation to undress with me. So, either I’m sorry, or you’re welcome. Or both?
Anyway, stupid thinking like that is probably why I can’t get shit done, and I really do find we don't necessarily allot ourselves enough time for beginnings and then actually become frustrated with ourselves when we fail to meet the standard we’d expected to meet. It’s like having an a thousand word a day quota right from the get go, and expecting to start with, and maintain, that number. Beginnings are hard man. Like really hard. If we’re taking writing as the example here and you’re able to write a thousand words a day at your start, you best be writing three thousand once you’re up and off the ground with a game plan.
Which, to most people, is nigh impossible. In fact, the only time I’ve written more than that was on a flight from Toronto to LA, which is roughly five hours trapped in one of those expensive flying tubes that seem to keep disappearing. After landing and getting the chance to give it a quick read-through, and of course accounting for the following acts of violent and random flailing, as well as the incoherent rants of misery, I decided it was probably best if no other human eyes ever saw the monstrosity born 30,000 feet over the US that day.
Needless to say it was absolute garbage.
And this is all to get across that we need to allot the proper time beginning’s deserve. And why it’s kinda shitty having to do so many of them. Obviously every day of working on something ongoing is still going to be difficult with new problems to face and blah, but the principal is there. We need more time for beginnings because they demand more time of us. Thinking of everything from nothing takes work, planning, dedication, as it kinda suggests it does. Start something without a solid foundation, or do it too quickly, and you’re going to be left with a gross pile of mush consisting of backlogged frustration and the purest form of writer’s grief. And that shit’s going to take your therapist years to work through.
And, as always, there’s the fear of failure. No one likes starting something new not knowing if the countless hours ahead will lead to some moderate form of success (otherwise known as Kraft Dinner I believe) or more unintelligible bouts of whimpering. I mean, I assume that’s normal.
Flash forward to me struggling to light my laptop on fire.
“OH GOD I CAN’T EVEN START THIS.”
Well folks, I think I just about convinced myself that my constant failures are justifiable. That is of course the entire goal of life? Maybe now I can go back to being a productive member of society, hitting my word count marks, and onto building important projects and such things.
My parents shrieks of laughter heard echoing in the distance.
I think beginnings are tricky things my friends, and maybe taking a moment to wonder if perhaps they do deserve a special kind of attention, or you deserve more time to create them, will help you out in the long run.
But hey, why listen to me? I’ve got 99 problems and beginnings are legitimately a solid 60% of those. Taking advice like this from me would be like taking investing advice from your goldfish. Which, I realize NOW, often leads to economic ruin.
Anyway, back to the beginnings I go. With, admittedly, a little lighter a mind than earlier this morning.
Stay classy folks.
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