There’s something about creative work that always bothered me. While producing any type of content for the low end of the popularity curve it rarely feels rewarding to get things done. What feels even less rewarding is not getting things done. But what is “not getting things done” really?
Always pushing for the next release, hoping that it would get me started on the whole having an audience thing. Not only did watching the numbers of each release feel bad, working on something for seemingly too long now also left a bitter taste. “I want to get this out so things move, even just a bit”, and with that, the quality of my work suffered because I wasn’t enjoying it.
What I was thinking about was success. Why would I want to be successful with something I didn’t stand behind a hundred percent? I could’ve just gotten an extra job, that would’ve been less work too. Trying to defeat perfectionism I became impatient and my process went completely astray. I’d be an entrepreneur and not a creative worker. That’s not to say you can’t be both of course.
I reconsidered. Progress, to me, isn’t getting more sales, views, or readers, it’s every bit of work that goes into creating something. Learning, practising, changing a single word or frame around – as long as I keep at it it’s going to be worth something in the bigger picture. Possibly not for a career but for personal growth. It’s what I want to do after all, and the only way things seriously don’t get done is if you stop working on them.
Even if I could get away with being garbage I wouldn’t want to. Financial pressure, anxiety about falling behind or not being able to catch up, passion, self-defeating thoughts, and especially perfectionism just have too many interactions to account for at all times. Sometimes you have got to take a step back and look at everything from a different angle if you feel stuck.
If you’re maybe in a similar situation, please see if this helps you. “I’m not getting anything done” is sometimes just a prevalent thought because your scope and scale are off. Don’t slack off and work with what you have in front of you. It’s easy to obsess over things that you think you need to focus on right now, but letting it get in the way of things rarely pays off. Obviously that is easier said than done and there are many layers to it, but refreshing my mind and reconsidering what I do helped my attitude and work ethic greatly.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some sort of toxic motivational speaker from San Francisco, and some things will plainly stall forever or go to waste. It’s devastating, and we don’t have infinite chances in life. Yet another reason to not feel bad doing what you do.
Consider every bit of work progress, because it more often than not is. Refocus, maybe compromise, look for improvements, and get back to work. I’m not saying delude yourself and waste your time approaching goals from an impossible angle. Separate progress and success while you work on both.
This post has become a bit too philosophical because concepts like these scale so well. “My video still isn’t done, when can I finally feel good” and “I’ve edited my script, corrected some colours, and did a bunch of voice work today – that was fun” is almost equal to “my video didn’t attract many people, when will this finally pay of” and “I’ve put up another piece of reasonably polished content and learned a bit more of the puzzle that is marketing and publicity”.
Really all I wanted to say was don’t be too bummed out if things take a while and look at all the shit you got done today why are you even still here and why am I
Having your work identical to yesterday’s draft doesn’t mean nothing got done, it means you’ve learned something and that’s part of the neccesary process. And that the deadline is approaching, oh boy