Fear and loathing in my living room

I’ve been incredibly lazy this weekend. Against all better judgement I decided to watch the football games today, and now I feel completely, creatively drained. Watching elite athletes get paid to completely destroy each other is just not for me anymore. I think the sport will somehow find a way to stay successful even without my patronage.

I know I come off as a hypocrite for talking about how conflicted I am with football, and pro-sports for that matter, in the past, yet still watching games today. Believe me, I felt that way all day. I felt awful watching a sport I barely have any interest in, instead of working on any number of projects I have going, or going to the gym, or trying to make the world a better place in any way whatsoever. I watched the games today, for the same reason I’ve been watching sports for the past couple of years, because it’s a way to bury my head in the sand and forget that I have all of these really hard goals I want to achieve. I don’t need to talk to a therapist to realize that I’ve used sports as a security blanket. It’s only now, when I have all but forced myself to come out of my shell and get solid work done every day, that I realize just how little I’ve actually enjoyed the experience of watching the games and how comfortable it felt to have an excuse not to work.

I haven’t had a ton of free time this year, which is a big change from the last couple of years. I’m still trying to adjust to a busier lifestyle, and there is this new, added layer of guilt that I feel when I go most of the day without doing something constructive. I’m starting to become more mindful of myself falling into distraction loops, kind of like I’m wearing a shock collar that sends a jolt when I spend too much time on Youtube, or especially on days like today.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the source of my own procrastination. Why do I quit what I’m working on, to go check Twitter or Reddit for the thousandth time during the day? It’s fear. If I’m having a particular hard day trying to start a project I will spend way too much internet. There’s this fear of failure that will set in before a first draft is finished, even though I’ve written enough to know that all first drafts are shitty. I spend so much time worrying about whether or not I’ll have anything to say, that on bad days I won’t get any work done at all. The fear of failing becomes a self-fulling prophecy. Even when it comes to writing these daily posts, there is this great fear that I will run out of things to say. That fear, combined with my past habit of not working on the weekend, has made it incredibly hard to write these last couple of days. By the time I feel guilty enough to force myself to work, it’s so late in the day that whatever comes out is rushed and less than what I want it to be. You know this kind of procrastination, it’s the kind that would lead to C Plus grades on midterms when you know you are perfectly capable of getting an A.

Now that enough of you wonderful people are following me, I feel an obligation to put in more work on this site. It’s not just an obligation to you, but also to myself. I’ve really been impressed by how hardworking and uplifting the creative community is here on Wordpress. Putting out creative work is often a lonely and draining experience. For most of us creative types, the work that we live and die by will never be seen by a lot of people. The question that is always lingering in the murky swamps of mind when I’m working is, ‘will anyone care?” In those moments of doubt, it’s reading other people’s blogs, and seeing that there are so many people just like me: struggling to write something that can connect with others, that will make others care - that gets me through.

You know I read/hear/see people talk about this all the time: talk about how scared shitless they were when they were trying to create something really awesome. Whether it is writer talking about his or her debut novel, a band going into the studio to create their masterpiece, or an actor talking about going on stage on opening night; they all share these same basic fears of failure and rejection, and it's this shared fear that seems to cull the wannabes and phonies out of the herd. All great artist seem to have a reasonable handle on the difference between instructive failures that happen in the midst putting in heartfelt work, and the deeper, soul crushing failure of not creating, or worse, putting out half-assed work. I do this all the time. I'll put out something half-assed because, if that work is looked at as a failure, I'll know that I was holding back. It's a pathetic way to go about living, and I'm trying my hardest to change.

This will be my fourth week of writing for this site. I hope at least some of the words I’ve written over the first three weeks of the year have reached out and found a reader who needed a little inspiration of their own. There are a lot of things that I’m nervous about failing next week. I know that my running routine is going to take a big jump in difficulty, and while it probably doesn’t seem like a big deal to fail a single day of Couch to 5K routine, it sort of feels like all of things I’ve been working on this year is being built up like a house of cards. There’s going to come a time when I’m going to have to learn to be OK with my failures, but I’m going to work my ass of to keep that moment from arriving. What I refuse to except is failing because I'm not fully investing myself.

Whatever effort I’ve put into my writing, reading, and running this year, I know I can do more.

I want to be more.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Let’s do our best to make this week even better than last.