Follow One Course Until Success.
I know. I know.
But let’s roll with it. I was listening to seanwes podcast 425: Put in Your 10 Years: The Long Game again, and thinking about this. I started drafting this novel right about at the beginning of 2019. I spent the couple months before that planning. So even though I’ve “wanted to be a writer” in some sense of the word for maybe twenty years, I’ve really only been focused on that goal for under a year.
Under one year. That doesn’t depress me, it emboldens me. Because imagine where I’ll be in two years, five, ten, if I let myself be pulled, pulled by my goal. I was thinking about something today that I wrote about earlier, why don’t I let myself be obsessed with my goal, to a totally unreasonable extent?
Look up images of my fantasy writer’s cabin and print them out and tape them to the wall.
Not stop fantasizing and start doing, but fantasize and do and keep the fantasies burning hot enough to pull me through the doing because I have to make them a reality.
Let’s have ten years of that, and then see where I am.
I turn thirty-seven in two days. In a decade I’ll be pushing fifty, still only halfway through this game.
Sean quoting John Maxwell in that podcast episode:
“I changed my question from ‘How long will it take?’ to ‘How far can I go?’”
I feel that way. So even when I get frustrated—where’s my writing habit gone?? Why haven’t I been posting on this blog??—I don’t feel defeated. Because I’m not stopping, and if I’m not stopping then I can’t fail, I can only run into setback after setback on the eventual road to success.
“But what if you never get to success?”
This question is a trap you’re setting for yourself, to talk yourself out of trying. To talk yourself into giving up.
If you don’t strive for some big dream, guaranteed you’ll die without achieving it. If you do strive, you may achieve it or you may not.
The trick you play is to convince yourself that you’ll feel worse if you try and fail than if you don’t try (guaranteeing you’ll fail).
I played this trick on myself all the time, especially in university, where I’d procrastinate on assignments, even legitimately interesting ones, until I didn’t have enough time to do them properly, and then, at least, the bad grades were because I “ran out of time” instead of because “I’m not good enough”. That argument doesn’t make any sense, but I think it’s what was driving my behaviour.
Sometimes it still does drive my behaviour. That, or something like it—why else do I still wait ’til the last minute? And when there’s no last minute, like with this novel, which has no real deadline, why I stop working on it time and again?
I keep tricking myself. Isn’t it frustrating, to trick yourself again and again even though you’re pretty sure you know all your tricks?
But it doesn’t matter, really. Because I’m not giving up.