“I can’t believe that I waited so long…what the hell was wrong with me?”
That’s what I find myself saying when I come up with new ideas and stall by thinking and not doing.
Then, even when I realise I’m stalling, I stall some more…..and then more.
What the hell is wrong with me? (Please don’t answer that)
After stalling three times, I’m paralysed for the next six months. I’ll have totally talked myself into a world of complete and utter inaction.
And, when (or if) I do finally get going (and it’s tough to do), at the end, when I look back at all the worry and stress I created, it’s always been a complete anti climax. Inevitably, I stand there, asking myself “WAS THAT IT? Was that all I was worried about?”.
“That was nothing!”
And then I get angry at myself for doing it.
When I toyed with the idea of performing stand up comedy in 2014, I felt the same build of negative self talk. The urge to plan; the urge to read; the urge to watch endless comedians.
The urge to do endless research, to get as perfectly prepared as possible, before actually making and committing to a decision.
When I do this, I like to kid myself that I’m being productive, but I’m not.
Urges, urges, urges. All urges to delay me from the main task and do anything, apart take a decent, positive action.
As soon as I felt the first urge of a delaying tactic, I took a positive action; I booked myself a stage spot at a comedy club. Now I had a deadline; there was no getting away from it. I HAD to come up with some funny stuff to fill ten minutes, and I wasn’t going to do it by browsing the internet, watching other comics, or waiting for inspiration.
So I wrote.
I had to. I had committed to being on stage.
And it was hard. Sitting down and working when you don’t really feel like working is tough. Anyone who’s ever created a series of perfectly colour coordinated revision timetables can tell you how hard it is.
I never appreciated this until I became a magician.
When you’re feeling funny, happy and creative, performing magic is a pleasure. When you’re feeling funny, happy and creative, performing magic is naturally what you want to do. It’s easy.
However, when you’ve had a shouting match with your partner, yelled at your kids and have a massive, thumping, headache, just to get to your local Harvester and be Mr Funny for two hours; it ain’t quite so much fun.
Like anything in life, when you WANT to do it, it’s a breeze. If you HAVE to do it, just because it’s 9 am on Monday morning and your boss is expecting you to do it, not so much.
Doing the work is hard. However, it’s the only way.
The ONLY way.
HARD WORK IS THE ONLY WAY.
There’s no way of getting round it (I’ve checked). If you want to be a comedian, you have to write jokes. If you want to be a magician, you have to learn tricks. If you want to be writer, you have to write.
So, here I am; website and all. Definitely not delaying or stalling in any way.
Thanks for being here. I’ll try not to suck too much.
In case you’re wondering, I’m writing this on a Saturday night, at midnight, after a full day of working magic gigs. And, more importantly, because I WANT to write it.