Late, late last night I did something that I’ve been scared to do for over a year now. I sent off my manuscript to someone outside my family and editor to read my novel and give me feedback. First time ever.
“Many artists begin a piece of work, get well along in it, and then find, as they near completion, that the work seems mysteriously drained of merit. It’s no longer worth the trouble. To therapists, this surge of sudden disinterest (“It doesn’t matter”) is a routine coping device employed to deny pain and ward off vulnerability.”
– Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way
THAT IS ME.
Even though I’ve finished many projects, I’ve also secretly hidden many away for this reason above. My novel that I’ve been working on for the past three years has been put away for six months while I worked on the other shiny projects that popped up in my radar.
This quote alone smacked me in the face as TRUTH.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve finished or started a project, only to think – “what’s the point?” I wrote a screenplay ten years ago and put it to the side. I reread it recently and it was good!
My very first video on YouTube got 25,000 views back in 2006 and I figured that was nothing, so why continue? WHAT?!
I look back at that video now and it’s hilarious. It was weird and quirky and had never been done before. I made two or three more and then gave up. Again, thought “what’s the point? No one cares.”
I’ve written plays and short stories that never got submitted. I’ve written articles. I’ve recorded videos.
It’s just insane how much filter there was in my life even prior to Instagram.
Because it’s all “potential”. Some people revel in that word – the worst thing a teacher could say growing up to me was “you’ve got so much potential”.
No one wants potential.
It’s what we women say about men we want to date in our 20’s…not who we want to be with in real life.
This is all to say: YOUR WORK DOES MATTER. FINISH IT.
I was listening to Oprah Winfrey interviewing a man named Tim Storey, and he speaks about how your life isn’t about a big break but it’s about “one life-transforming step at a time”.
“Today’s decisions are tomorrow’s realities,” he says.
We know this.
We’ve heard it before.
But it’s SO IMPORTANT and SO EASY TO FORGET.
I think about this all the time when I stay home from work to write or work on a project and someone says to me, “come out! one night out won’t matter in the grand scheme of things!” They are probably right that one night out won’t matter, but I’ve also learned it’s too easy to say “one night won’t matter” and one night turns into two nights which turns into missing three next days because of headaches and hot dogs.
And it’s not worth it. That was what my twenties were for. Time is precious now. Don’t waste it.
Be picky with whom you spend time with. Perhaps it wasn’t always that way…but it is now, and that’s your prerogative. It can sometimes be intimidating to people and annoying.
But what do you care?
You’re finishing what you started finally. You’re heading towards the life you wanted.
So now my novel is off to him, and I can finish my second screenplay and work on another one. And another one. And another one.
One thing is for sure that I will finish what I started from here on out…unless I don’t. But if I don’t, I will choose so with awareness.