Wanting to trust your brain (and mind in general) can feel a little counter-intuitive. After all, most of us are painfully aware of our own shortcomings. Our cognitive abilities are tremendous, yet we often feel like our thoughts and memory are trying to screw us over at every turn. We lose things, miss crucial meetings, forget what we were going to say mid-sentence…
2017 is here… and it’s time to slow down.
Admittedly, this wasn’t the first thought that went through my head when I thought about planning the year ahead. My instinct was to cram in as many projects and resolutions as possible in the hope that some (okay, one or two) might actually stick… but guess what? That’s what I do every year… and it doesn’t really work out. I do end up making improvements in my life over the year, but most of them don’t happen in January. In fact, the first couple of months are usually pretty miserable. It’s dark, cold and I feel crap for not sticking to my myriad of new goals.
Anyone else know the feeling?
I haven’t posted anything on here since my story, The Lioness, got shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. Why? Well, to be honest, I quite like having that story at the top of my page for people to read. After all, it’s proof that I am indeed doing what it says on the tin. This freelance writer is – surprise, surprise – actually writing.
But as I’m sure you know, that works for about five seconds in the real world. Ten, if you’re lucky.
Earlier this year, I decided to revisit an old short story of mine.
I liked the premise, but the execution was sub-standard and there were problems with continuity. It was hard. Let me tell you, editing sucks (says the girl currently stuck editing chapter 5 of a 29-chapter novel). It involves a whole new set of skills where you have to be critical without wanting to set yourself and everything you’ve ever written on fire. It’s often tempting to stop halfway through, but you’ve just got to push on.
Because sometimes, it pays off.
Quitting is hard.
“Wait, what?” you ask.
Yeah. Quitting is possibly one of the hardest things you can do, if you think about it.
I mean, we’re all pretty good at starting things, aren’t we? New projects, New Year resolutions related to work or health, courses, etc. We become enamoured with an idea and we decide to give it a go, because we think it’ll take us to a better place. We think it’ll make us happy, if only we stick with it long enough.
Therein lies the catch.
A year ago to this day, I quit my job to pursue my dream of being a freelance writer.
It wasn’t an easy decision, but I was lucky to be in a position where I could launch into it with a certain amount of work (and pay) guaranteed each month. I realize that this isn’t exactly common and I’m grateful I’ve been able to benefit from it. It certainly eased my passage into self-employment.
I’m not going to launch into a massive political debate. No, I’m not happy with the result of the UK’s referendum, but I can’t change it. I couldn’t even do anything about it while the vote was happening, as the UK doesn’t allow its citizens to vote if they’ve never been registered while living in the UK itself. Trust me, I tried (and tried again this morning, just to make sure). They wouldn’t have me. It really sucks, but voilà. All I can say regarding that is:
If you are in a position to do so, then REGISTER! And then vote. No matter what the topic or your opinion may be.
Today’s Monday and I feel like writing something weird and happy, because why the hell not? I could go on about how sad the world is (and I will tonight at the poetry reading I’m attending – appologies to those in attendance), but frankly I’d rather not right now. We’ve all seen the news, thank you.
You can’t teleport yourself to your favourite spot, just as you can’t teleport yourself to success.
It might sound like a downer, but I think this is probably ultimately a good thing. Reaching a holiday destination after a long journey is such a great feeling. So is accomplishing a goal after putting in copious amounts of effort. I’m even going to venture that the satisfaction experienced (and how long it lasts for) is proportional to the length of the path travelled.
This is why every step matters.
We all have goals, aspirations or at the very least, desires and wishes that we want to see come true one day. Some of these we work more or less hard for, others we sort of contemplate in an offhand but hopeful manner, waiting for something to happen of its own accord. A bit like wishing you might win the lottery, if you like.