Monday, January 2, 2012

Pain Now is Better than Pain Deferred

The other morning, I was sitting down with a cup of coffee to work on some writing. Naturally, this meant that I had to read twitter, go through about 15 blogs, check twitter again, make more coffee, pay a bill, watch 30 minutes of Sportscenter, and ultimately write 140 words of crap fiction that will never be part of anything. I had burned the entire morning away, and it was time to start the actual day job.

I had something to do, and I chose to waste my time. Was it more entertaining that writing? Maybe, but in the end it made me feel like an asshole for missing another deadline. For wasting more precious time on useless shit I had seen before. I chose to defer the pain of writing in order to have more fun in the short term. I caused myself anxiety and guilt by not doing my work for the sake of petty entertainment.

An article on The Art of Manliness (which is quite excellent, and not just about bacon and lumberjacks) laid it out for me. I almost always, in my writing life and otherwise, choose the long and slow pain rather than just ripping the band aid off. I’ve wasted almost all of 2011 in a non-effective stupor because I have a bogus and unrealistic fear of failure. I haven’t produced because I put the cart before the wagon, publishing before writing.

From now on, I’m forcing myself to do the work first, fear and entertainment be damned. Production is the only thing that will eliminate the irrational fear. Work is the only activity that will lead me away from the path of failure. I failed 2011. I will not fail 2012.

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