I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels this way, but it’s hard for me to pick just one thing I want to be.
It used to be easy. Someone will ask, “What do you want to be, Georgia?”
And I’d answer, “I want to write books for a living. I want to be an author. I want to write fiction, specifically. Like J.K. Rowling.”
Nowadays, I’d rather not be like J.K. Rowling, but that’s still true. I still want to write books for a living. But I also want to make interesting videos, and write better copy, and set up a newsletter, curate a bunch of cool links, and get 10,000 followers on Instagram just so I can get to tell people to swipe up.
I want to do my own business with my friend, actually save enough money, learn more about investing but not get bored by it.
As clichéd as it is, I want to travel more, live overseas for part of the year… I want to do more writing fellowships, help build writing / reading communities in Singapore.
I want to be productive, but I don’t know what I want to be productive in.
And Then The Internet Lures You (Or Well, Me) Into Passivity
There’s so much content out there to consume, after all.
I get sucked into pages and pages of how there’s some drama in the new Bachelorette’s life, or how Taylor Swift and Katy Perry has resolved their feud, or how The Good Place is ending with Season 4 and now I don’t know what to do for good “television” anymore.
(Okay no, I actually do. I’m still waiting on the new season of The Magicians, but that will only come next year.)
Or I read about digital marketing and what to look out for, how paid newsletters are apparently the way forward, or watch Youtube video after Youtube video on how to edit better videos.
I’m stuck in a loop of watching other people make cool stuff and then lamenting that I haven’t made any of that cool stuff.
Even right now as I’m writing this, I have 50 other tabs open looking at other things other people have made on the internet.
It’s easier to make nothing. Drinks can be had; brunch eaten; video games played; books read in place of any actual making of things. You can be not ready, not practiced, not sure except for the fact the things you’ll make won’t be right or good. You may think it’s better to make no things.
This isn’t the case. It’s never better to make nothing. It’s always better to make the thing. Make any thing. Creativity is a muscle, and like any other muscle, it must be exercised. Like exercise often is, the process may be difficult or painful but ultimately it’ll be rewarding.How I Wrote a Certain of My Pieces of Content, Mike Rugnetta
It may be more rewarding to make things, but boy is it so easy to just do nothing.
They Say Consistency Is Key But I Don’t Know What I Want To Be Consistent About
They also say having a niche is good for a blog… But then some people say it’s not necessary if you tell good stories and have a good voice.
I’ve had this website since October 2017, and I wrote a grand total of 9 times. They aren’t very good odds of being consistent. I’m not consistent at all.
I think it’s because I feel like I have to be a coherent “brand” on here but I can’t figure out what my “brand” is because I want to be all the things. How am I going to be consistent if I feel like I want to talk about different things every time?
Except Everyone Does Different Things, So What’s My Excuse?
Look at Hank Green from 4 years ago. He was doing all the things before he decided to add author to that list of things he was doing.
I want to be like Hank Green. I want to do all the things.
Look how much skinnier he was back then! (That’s not the point.)
If Hank Green can do all the things, then I, too, have a shot of doing all the things.
One of the things I learnt in New York while we talked to people and companies is that people are more than capable of not boxing themselves in. Careers aren’t linear anyway. And neither are your personal projects.
The only person stopping myself from doing all the things?
I hate to admit it, but that person is me.
It Could Be Because I’m Lazy
Why be creative and put myself out there when I can just play Skyrim for the first time on the Nintendo Switch because I’m 8 years late to the game?
But if playing a game is frustrating, being on social media is frustrating, and writing is also frustrating, then I can’t run away from frustration by being lazy.
Being lazy is frustrating.
Doing nothing is frustrating.
Making vague promises to write more and not doing it is frustrating.
But what’s not frustrating is caring about things.
People care about things. It’s why they start podcasts, or code a website, or make an app. It’s why, on a larger scale, people make large scientific discoveries that change the world. It’s why we love the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Time To Care About All The Things I Want To Do
What does The Bachelorette, my deep dive into Content Marketing, and my penchant for bringing at least one book with me so I can read have in common?
There’s care and love put into them. (Thanks Mike Rugnetta for that insight at the end of that article I linked above.)
Maybe in varying degrees of importance, but I actually care about these things.
I can’t tell you what it’s like on the other side of actually doing all the things because I’m not there yet.
I can’t promise that I’ll never fail, and never be lazy ever again. Even for the things I care deeply about, I can lose interest in them sometimes.
But I’m tired of being frustrated and doing nothing at the same time.
I’m tired of thinking I can only ever have one big goal of writing a book and working towards it so my other goals don’t matter as much.
I’m tired of saying that my words don’t matter. Because if I think that about my own work, how will they matter to someone else?