What It Feels Like To Get Off Track/Fall Off The Wagon/Sail Alone
Start. Stop. Cold feet. 30 Day Challenges with only 19, 10, 7, 3, 2 days marked off the calendar. Good intentions, meet Bad Indigestion. And a gremlin that comes out of nowhere and insists that your optimism was all a sham and you’ve always been a pessimist, come join the dark side, we have cookies that will make you feel temporarily better and incrementally worse. Wanting to change your writing style, your lifestyle approach, your mentors, your outlook, your plan of action. Stopping because this makes you feel dumb, bored, insecure, cold, lonely. Stopping because maybe you’re enjoying this TOO much, getting TOO far ahead. Fear of success? You’d heard of it once and thought it ludicrous. But now you know what it means.
Oh, hello there.
This is the entry for all you Eternal Beginners out there.
Does this sound familiar? You’ve got a goal. It lines up with your core values, your dreams, who you are. You’ve got the time, the money, the interest, the resources. You’re learning coding, or drawing, or a foreign language. You pay for lessons, download an app, order a book, brush up on concepts you’ve learned before. You remind yourself of past successes—the early morning appointments you’ve kept, the awards and recognition, the promises kept, the right characteristics, the right intentions.
And it’s working. You’ve put in Day 1. Smashed Day 2. Humped through Day 3. Had a flash of inspiration on Day 4. Told your family breathlessly on Day 5. Took a mini-break on Day 6. Felt refreshed and got twice as much done on Day 7. And the wheels fell off on Day 8.
This is the entry for all of you who’ve rode a Goal Wagon with the wheels falling off.
This sucks! You don’t have time to fix this wheel, you’re supposed to be plowing ahead! That seven-day race toward that already distant goal? Feels like a waste now, stuck here in the mud, not even sure how to put the wheel back on, since you don’t know how it came off in the first place.
This could be a challenging test or quiz or project you’ve gotten to, a milestone, that supposedly tests all you’ve learned so far, but you swear you’ve never learned ANY of this. How are you supposed to put two and two together when they’ve thrown in an elephant?
And then it starts raining. You know, you’ve got the Storm Clouds. The Blues. And you watch the clear track of progress get all muddied, first by the rain, and now, it’s all muddled in your mind’s eye, behind that curtain of tears. Tears of frustration or anger or remorse—c’mon, we all cry on the inside, even if we don’t always cry on the outside. And nothing can bring on those particular tears quite like watching ourselves get further and further off course. The track gets lost in the mud. We stumble forward but the wagon doesn’t ride as smooth as it used to (you know something is still missing, that the best you could do was a patch job and that little thing you don’t understand grates on you every time you hit a new bump in the road and the wheel threatens to roll away yet again). And what’s worse, the path before you is no longer so clearly delineated, and the path behind you is getting harder and harder to remember.
Has it really only been two weeks since you started this crazy journey?
Besides, look at all those pioneers over there. They hardly ever lose the wheels on their wagon, and if they do, they know all the buzz words that can get them out. And they have connections. To experts. In fact, they’re not hobbying it up like you do; they’re professionals. They get bit? They suck out the poison. They lose their way? They draw up a new map. They stumble into a trouble area? They call in a knowledgeable buddy. And you feel alone. And foolish. And cowardly. Because you’re ready to pack it in. Maybe you’ll get back to it in a couple months. Maybe a couple years. Maybe, maybe, you’re ashamed of that word, so you keep it hidden like a middle name. But having Maybe as a middle name is even worse. It’s always there, taunting you, a part of your identity you can’t shake. A middle name like Gaylord or Dorcas. You’ve made it a part of you now. You’ve made it a part of your name. I’m so-and-so, the quitter, the maybe, the wannabe, the hobbyist, the some-gotta-win-and-some-gotta-lose-so-I-guess-I’m-the-loser. You think if there’s a place in this current society for you, it’s Anti-Hustler. You don’t have the sweat equity, kid.
This is the entry for all you Anti-Hustlers out there.
First, A Bit About Me (Then A Bit More About You)
As an American, I'm a big fan of the American Ethos: Work Hard, Work Smart, Wear Your Heart On Your Sleeve (But If You Have To Cry, Cry Into Your Pillow At Night Gosh Demmit).
There's no irony there. I think I'm being truthful. That's the American Work Ethos as I understand it.
And I lived by it for the first twenty years of my life. Then something caved in around that time. Sordid details? None really, and besides, we're not here to be down together. We're here to stand up together.
And whether you're visiting this plot of internet country from an American or an Estonian server, there's a current in modern culture we're all familiar with right now: the Hustle Culture.
But, my friends, if you've read this far, you're wondering what the heck I mean by Anti-Hustler.
And what this blog is going to be about.
To be an Anti-Hustler is to embody this adage:
"Dance to the beat of your own drummer."
Do you feel like you don't have what it takes because you've never gone "full tilt" on your dream? You didn't quit your day job (OK, I did that, but there's a Failing Upward blog you should check out that illustrate how that doesn't necessarily mean insta-results or insta-pride or insta-satisfaction...), you didn't go back to school, you didn't even finish the YouTube tutorial you started. So you start hearing this, on the internet, from frustrated family members, from your monkey mind:
1. "You just don't want it bad enough then."
2. "If you hate your job, just quit. Who cares what people think? Do what you love, what you want!"
The author has personally said these things, or nodded her head from time to time. Not just to herself. To others. To friends (I've got an apology planned this weekend).
Dear Reader, I'm going to start this pilgrimage of penance by NOT saying any of these things to you.
Because we aren't hustlers. We're more like pioneers--this is wild country for us (for me, it's about writing and coding and where those two overlap), and we're going to take our time and work hard because we want to make a life here.
What These Scribbles Are For
This site is an author's website. But this author is not just a pioneer, she's an apprentice. There are lots of experts talking about the topics I'm going to talk about. And I've got my own small pockets of expertise to share.
But this is also a site about the Beginner's Journey: putting down stakes, making claims, small wins.
Eternal Beginners. Eternal Pioneers.
Or finishing a short story--and sending it out for publication.
Or just getting your email set up to your website, because I'm still not sure I'm doing it right.
If there are stops and starts on Day 8, at least they'll be documented.
That's what these Scribbles will be about, in a nutshell.
To start this off, they'll be a nice daily burst here at the beginning, followed by more scheduled updates on Mondays and Saturdays at 11 a.m.
We'll learn it together.
In Excelsis Deo.
NOTE: To improve my pixel art, I've decided to do the terribly ambitious thing of creating a custom pixel piece for each blog entry (or in this case reshading one I'd already done). DOUBLE NOTE: For the sake of sanity, they may be small, but I'll at least try to make them relevant.
K.W. writes novels, short stories, the occasional ode, game scripts, and (with actual evidence!), this here blog.