Lowering the bar

You know what? I think it’s finally time that I come clean and admit what’s going on. It’s really started to get to me now.

See despite my frequent writing of both: my ideas in a journal at least 3 times a week, and my stream-of-consciousness-like musings in my ‘Morning Pages’ almost every day

…in the year of 2021, I have only published ONE blog post to this site.

*Sigh*. I know.

Now, when it comes to finger pointing, I cannot begin to tell you how easy it would be for me to put the blame for my shameful lack of published writing on the increasing demands of my day job.

There’s a lot I could say here.

I could tell you how I’ve taken on a lot more responsibility as the company’s needs have changed.

Perhaps I could tell you how I’m having to learn about a large array of concepts in psychology, behavioural economics, and finance outside my main working hours.

Or maybe I could tell you how my growing love for the product I am working on each day has utterly consumed me to the extent that I cannot actually sit down to write anything worthwhile.

I mean… you’d buy that, right?

And to be fair, all these statements would kind of be true… but they wouldn’t reflect the reason I’ve only posted one blog post this year.

As I not-so-subtly hinted at earlier, creating space to write is not the issue here. In fact, we workaholics are pretty ingenious when it comes to pulling more time for output out of thin air.

So what’s really going on? Why can’t I seem to push ‘Publish’ on the words that I so freely and frequently put down on paper.

Well, I believe that when it comes to putting my ideas online, I may have set the bar… too high.

Whilst I might count my lucky stars for the fact that Writer’s block has yet to find me; its not too distant, and equally pernicious, cousin seems to have entered my spirit. That’s right. I’m talking about: Publisher’s block.

You may now be wondering, what is Publisher’s block?

Well, to understand it, I believe it’s best worth seeing what it does to its victims. Here is what I am greeted with every single time I log into my website admin portal…

These are all the blog posts that, despite my hours plunged into them, still currently remain in the unpublished box.

Some are first draft ramblings. Some are highly edited third passings. Others even have photos and links attached to them, making them ready to go and, indeed, very publish-able.

And yet, I cannot seem to do it. I just cannot hit “Publish”. None of these posts have managed yet to clear the bar.

Here’s the thing: my writing routine is sporadic. Unpredictably chaotic at best. Yet, I still manage to get the words down. I still manage to take an idea from conception, to completion.

But something happens at the point where I begin to consider if the “completed” idea is ready to be presented to the world. I know what it is. It’s my looking at the other posts on my site. It’s my looking at the “heralded history of my published work” (at least that’s what my mind describes it to me as) and telling myself “only my best work ever has the right to exist here”.

Part of me desperately wants blame the design of this very website. Perhaps I’m too fond and proud of it. Would it not be easier for me to upload more on here if it resembled an early 2000s blog in look? Maybe a Wordpress template site could work? I mean, look at even this fancy font face! Its all very The-New-York-Times-y, and not so much I-just-want-to-share-my-thoughts-y.

But if I decided to re-work the aesthetics, I know I wouldn’t really be solving the problem, but rather just entertaining a very well-dressed form of procrastination. Nothing like exercising the skill I get paid for, right?

If I really want to address this exponential issue, (because every time I add a post to that historical wall of fame, I continue to raise the bar) I need to remove that need to love everything I post here.

Let’s face it. This need for all of my work to be consistently lovable is doing more harm than good. Whilst it might be protecting me from failing in public; it’s preventing me entirely from doing anything in public.

So here it is. The antidote to that exact problem. My solution: this very blog post.

Did I spend hours and hours writing, editing, and rewriting it? Of course not. You can tell that. Already, I begin to feel that this isn’t a piece I’m going to look back on all that proudly… but then I guess that’s kind of the point.

It’s not an attempt to make you feel something as a reader. Or to give you some grand idea or insight to action into your life to improve it greatly. Instead, it’s my first attempt to publish something that doesn’t meet that goal. My first attempt to publish something that I’m just okay with. To end the perfectionist streak. To lower the bar.

I don’t want to feel I need to jump so high anymore.

So from now on, if you come across a bad post from me as you make your way through my site, note, I’m likely trying to get over something in public. To get over some fear that needs nullifying. To start small again, in hopes that I can eventually build myself up to jump high once again.

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