So, what’s the plan? Novel? (I think I’ve probably nailed it there. Pretty much everyone has that plan, even if it’s just a vague, far-off ‘I’ll get there one day. I just need to experience life first. A classic rivalling The Great Gatsby is in me’ kind of thought process.) Mastering a sport in secret so you can shock and impress your unsuspecting compadres? (Who doesn’t want to be an excellent dancer? Just say yes.) Blogging more than once a month and finally getting your own URL so it’s a bit less of an embarrassing amateur project? (And maybe upping your follower list from 10 close friends who read it when you guilt them into it to, you know, a couple of the other people who use the internet.)
It won’t happen. Trust me. Here are the five reasons why. You should ignore them and go for it, by the way, as I’ll try to explain. But you probably won’t. Which is a bit of a shame.
1. You can’t be bothered.
Understandable. You work or study (maybe both. If you do neither of those things, you have no fucking excuse). You do things of a social nature a few times a week. Isn’t your much-cherished spare time better spent half-watching re-runs of Arrested Development while you add the perfect tracks to your super-cool Spotify playlists? Plus every now and then you have to, like, vacuum and do laundry, and Jesus those tasks are exhausting. How does anyone find the time?
Yeah…those excuses are kind of bullshit, but I can see where you’re coming from. Life can be pretty tiring. It’s easy to get home, flop down and zone out until it’s time to engage in the usual hygiene ritual and crash into bed. But if you waste all your spare time, you’re doing yourself a massive disservice. Those minutes are precious. It’s your time, and you should be using it to explore the things you love. And you don’t love TV re-runs. They’re just easy. That’s not to say you should never veg out. Of course you should. But set aside some time to concentrate on the things that you think would be really cool to pursue, because the people who do that are, you know, those talent-hoarders who end up making you envious in on-trend magazine features. Fuck those people.
2. You suck. You’re not good enough at whatever it is you want to do.
It’s said so often that I feel lame writing it, but people are paralysed by fear of failure. Even if they start something, they usually feel like they’re not living up to their ludicrously high expectations and quit way too quickly. Anyone with a modicum of self-awareness and drive puts masses of pressure on themselves when something’s important to them.
Here’s the thing: other people don’t have the perfectionist expectations you have of yourself. Besides, your view is probably warped/overly pessimistic. No one does everything right on the maiden voyage (are you now picturing old ships crossing a violent sea? I am). What you have to do is get a base down that you can refine and polish. It’s hard going at first, but once you get to the revision stage it’s a pretty sweet place you find yourself in.
3. Someone killed your confidence.
Ugh. What is with those people who piss all over your dreams? Why would anyone ever want to be that person? It’s one thing if they’re some kind of enemy or rival – then you know it’s just their way of trying to destroy your soul, and you will never let that happen (well, not again, anyway). But it makes you feel like someone’s taken a hacksaw to your insides (that mushy part of your insides where your tender, tender soft spot hides) when it’s someone who has no reason to hate you – someone who, in fact, you think generally kind of likes you, but isn’t quite close enough to never be honest enough that they risk offending you.
It’s difficult to believe, but those people can actually be wrong. Why do you assume they’re better than you? Chances are, they just don’t have the imagination necessary to appreciate how amazing your plan is. If you’re wondering whether you’ve received a legit piece of straight-up advice or the mutterings of an idiot, put their statement in context. Are they usually right/wrong? Do you usually/ever agree with them? Are they less successful/more successful than you? Put together the pieces of the puzzle before you write-off an idea on someone else’s say-so. (And who asked them, anyway? Probably you, I guess.)
4. It’s expensive. Have I mentioned how poor I am?
Sometimes it’s finances that get in the way of what you want to do. This one’s a bit trickier, especially when you earn so little that the only chance of you getting drunk on a night out is a $6 bottle of wine beforehand or a good happy hour. You need a new web design, or sewing lessons, or a guitar so you can join your friend’s post-punk three-person outfit (which will make a critically acclaimed debut album that’s eaten up by alternative stations and festival-goers until it gets so much traction you go mainstream, baby). And then you need lessons to go with that guitar. Because you remember sweet F.A. from those classes your parents paid for when you were in the seventh grade.
Let me be clear here: I’m not exactly ‘good’ with money. So I’m not going to dole out financial advice. (If I ever start giving financial advice to you, run. Run and drink so much that the next morning you can’t remember whatever nonsense I was spouting, which was probably something along the lines of ‘If you want that new Kate Spade coin purse but you’re out of cash until payday, charge that sweet thing to credit! YOLO, guys! Plus, look how cute it is. Oh my god. Do they accept cheque here? I wonder what they’ll say if I tell them they can’t cash it until next Thursday.’) But if it’s important enough, you can get around this one, too. It might be slow going. You may need to save, or even get extra work. Try doing things by increments – you don’t have to execute everything at the very beginning. Start small and work your way up as you get the funds to do so.
5. Your computer ate your work and fuck this you are never ever bothering to do anything again because oh my god the wasted time and effort, why Lord, why?
Word froze when I was writing this. It was kind of handy in a way because I was struggling to come up with my fifth point, and I feel like five is a solid number for this kind of list, but it was also devastating. When it restarted, less than half of what I’d written remained. Not cool. I was pissed. I sat there for a while cursing the spinning colour wheel of death while fighting off urges to set my five year old Macbook on fire.
Before you start blaming Apple for the loss of your life’s work, though, you should a) Do things like save files and back up so you avoid having to deal with this painful problem, or, if option a) has failed, b) Come back to it after you’ve calmed down. You’ll actually do it better next time, and you’ll be surprised how much you remember. This article is totally gold now, I’m pretty sure. Hopefully that’s inspired you some.