Freezing Up

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For the past few months I’ve been freezing up. I’ve been sitting in front of my computer sweating about what to write for this newsletter. I think to myself, “What am I doing? I don’t know what to write. I don’t know what to talk about, where to start. Who am I to give these people advice!”. I feel so much pressure to start off on the right foot. To share something instantly relatable and useful.

Then today I realized that I’ve fallen into the trap that so many personal projects fall into. I’ve psyched myself out. I’ve told myself that I have to make something perfect. When I know that it’s enough just to start.

When we start a creative project. We create pressure around the project. I can easily waste time planning and preparing and in the end never make something worth sharing. I’ve made countless comics that never got off the ground. Stories that never got fleshed out. There are 117 notes in my Evernote notebook for blogposts (I also have a giant pile of sketchbooks filled with drawings waiting to be posted). I have all this material. But I’m obsessed by trying to improve and perfect it all.

At the start the pressure is imaginary. It get’s in the way and it makes us hide. We freeze up and figure out it’s safer to just not say anything. Or we toil away in secret. Secrets rarely help anyone, especially those keeping them. There’s no real pressure to live up to, just the pressure we create.

Sometimes the work isn’t ready. You don’t want to jump the gun and release something prematurely. We all want to develop our skills, and create great work. I think the sad truth is, is that releasing art is always vulnerable. It’s always easier to keep working than to share. For 2 years my writing partner Isaiah and I worked on a comic project. When we were finally ready to share it with close friends and family, we only got a tepid response. In the end we abandoned the project. There were flaws in the concept that we couldn’t ignore. So we started again. This time trying hard to make something and get feedback often.

I know a lot of people feel stuck. They don’t know where to start. I sure didn’t. What’s changed is that starting isn’t the hard part anymore. It’s just the beginning. All the pressure, all the nerves, it’s just stage fright. I don’t know if this will be relatable or helpful. It’s not really the point. I’m writing this to get started.

All the best

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