Progress Feels Nice, No Matter How Small

Because I write these posts a week in advance and then never look at them until the day before they post (to edit them), I’ve started to notice a lot of habits I’ve developed around my writing and the way I think about it. For instance, I almost always feel like what I’ve written is overly emotional in a way that will come across as self-indulgent. Or that some key element of it that was supposed to be subtle and clever was actually just clearly apparent and I spent too much time patting myself on the back for how terrible it actually is. Or that I’ve gone and made myself vulnerable on the internet and what I’ve written will surely be seen by someone who is going to figure out how to use it against me. Or, worse, that I wrote something about my past and someone from my past is going to read it, track me down, and confront me about it.

As you can probably see, those thoughts are all incredibly negative. I’ve learned to ignore most of them as they pass through my mind, but they still color my perception of my work. I’ve developed all the tools I need to get past those things (namely the ability to keep moving forward no matter how I feel about what I’ve created and how to solicit and accept feedback on something currently being produced), but they’re all coping mechanisms. Now, as I write, edit, and post on this blog, I’ve come face to face with the root of the problem (it also helps that in therapy, I’ve been confronting the root of my self-esteem issues).

All of which to say is that I wrote the post that went up a week ago two weeks before and was only able to convince myself to not delete it and write something else instead by saying that I didn’t have to decide that until after editing it. I could always just move up my other posts in line and stick it at the back if I felt it needed more time. Or remove it completely. I had lots of options if I still felt like it was overly self-indulgent. Then, when I edited it (the day I’m writing this post), I realized that it was actually the right amount of self-indulgent and that regardless of how other people felt about it, it was what I wanted to put out into the world.

It may be overly emotional or perhaps more personally revealing that I’d like, or maybe even pointlessly flowery in its prose, but all the things I thought about it aren’t true. It has value and was worth doing. It may have been difficult to take all those thoughts and put them down in some kind of order, with some kind of narrative flow, but it absolutely was helpful for me to have written it and then to have reread it. Maybe someone out there will feel the same way, and that’d be nice, but I’m glad I did it regardless.

Now I just need to figure out how to apply this mentality to the rest of my writing. If I can actually put an end to ceaseless self-defeating commotion in my mind whenever I’m writing something, I might finally have the energy to finish something.

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