Stepping Back to Walk Forward
As John Lennon so elegantly put it, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” The past year – the Great Unpaid, the move back to Boston, and other assorted successes and failures – has etched that immortal saying firmly in my grey matter, leading to much reflection and “life-ing” as I move my career and life forward, not into the Great Unpaid, but into the Great Unknown.
For the better part of two years, social media – Twitter especially – has been a wonderful home for my ideas, thoughts, and ruminations on things creative and interesting. I’ve made numerous friendships, potential professional partnerships, and had dialogues with some truly fascinating and talented people, and for that I am eternally grateful.
There was a time – a month ago, to be precise – when I considered giving up social media altogether. Not out of frustration, but out of feeling like a hypocrite. My blog posts and tweets and writings may have informed some, may have brought some creative inspiration and ideas, but they brought me little more than emptying my brain for the world to see.
The overwhelming feeling of hypocrisy reached its apex with my “writing radio” post. It was fine, but it made me realize that I’ve let too much time pass by, sucked in by my “lizard brain’s” demand to produce whatever, whenever, without aim or intent, and certainly not mindfully. It was a shotgun approach, when my favorite weapon in Halo is the sniper rifle. Precise, to the point, and accomplishing a single goal with little muss or mess.
Over the past several months, I’ve noticed – and been bothered by – a sharp decline in my writing craft, as I let all of the projects I’m juggling take hold and overwhelm me to the point that my voice became nothing but static, my output forced by some need to please some nonexistent manifestation of my own creative inadequacy.
While I am custom built to live in this exposure economy and project-based employment, I am certainly not built for “new new new now now now” that this self-produced and perpetuated manifestation of fear of irrelevancy has implanted the aforementioned grey matter under my increasingly greying hair.
I’ve lost sight of the joy of the journey in creating. That joy was what gave me my successes. Not thinking like a businessman, not thinking like a marketeer. The joy in me was genuine, one that I adored sharing with others. But, as has been the case since fall of last year, that joy dissipated as things out of my control invaded my life, leaving me a joyless, non-authentic creative without a singular voice that I was proud of.
I have been anyone other than me. And now, I’m finding the joy in being me (said without any ego). And me isn’t someone who waxes philosophic on things that he himself isn’t doing. I’ve looked into the world to find that joy again, and found instead a me I didn’t like, reactionary, waiting on something to break, something to move instead of being the one that does the moving. Perhaps it was out of desperation for a life that had become without focus, or perhaps it was laziness and fear. Probably a tertiary collective.
But now, I’m stepping back from social media and talking about what I do. I’ll continue to blog and tweet, but only when I have something to say that’s worth saying.
Though I’m stepping back a bit, I’m moving forward with the only thing that can help me put one foot in front of the other – making good shit.