Monday, August 19, 2013

Challenge Number #19: Reality Check

Put on your PJs, lose the make up and grab the Ben & Jerry's people,  things are about to get real.

I'm not going to lie, most of my creative career has felt a lot like running around really fast in the dark praying that I'm not going to run into a brick wall and knock myself unconscious.   I don't really have a solid sense of direction or even purpose all the time, often opting for the Indiana Jones "make it up as I go" method of living.  This has served me well over the years.  It may not be the most efficient way of living, but it was sort of, kind of, working out.

Till it wasn't.

Here's the problem, while running around at Mach 10 in as many directions as possible, making life up as I go, sounds like a great plot to a spy novel, it was a really inefficient, unproductive, exhausting way of living.  I just couldn't see it.

As our world get's more and more advanced and we discover more and more technologies for helping us do simple tasks more quickly and efficiently we slowly begin to fill up our lives, one moment at a time.  We work our jobs, we commit to extra curricular activities, we eat out instead of having to take the time to come home and cook a meal, let alone take the time to shop for the groceries to make it.  And then in our down time between events we scour our media pages, scrolling through pages and pages of Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook updates.  Filling every once of spare time finding out what our friends, or most likely people-I-only-met-once-but-am-somehow-facebook-friends-with are doing, thinking, saying, eating or just posting for the hell of it.  We've become the poor little frog, slowly, over time, being busied to death without even realizing it's happening.

We touched on this a little last week in the post I wrote about how our society glorifies being busy and the differences between being busy vs. productive, but I want to delve a little deeper into the subject this week.

In my own personal life it has become blatantly obvious to me how badly I suffer from a bad case of the busies.   I spend so much time running around working on everything and anything, I rarely, if ever, accomplish anything.

I wrote a book last winter and still have yet to publish it.  I've been too busy.

I told the internet I would post a series of blog posts on going through Wreck This Journal… but guess what?  I've been too busy.

I've needed to clean my bedroom for almost 4 months and I've been too busy.

Don't for get to snag your challenge badge!
Here's the thing, busy isn't the problem, it's a symptom.   Busy is what we do to mask the fact that we are terrified of something.  Terrified that everyone is going to hate the book we wrote, so it's easier to say we are too busy to finish it.  Terrified that if we post our personal artwork on the internet people will judge us and say we aren't any good so it's easier to say we are too busy.  Just plain avoiding hard work so we say we are busy to get out of doing it… for now.

In our minds we are always going to come back to the project… later... when we aren't busy.

Except later never comes and busy just grows because busy is a choice, not a external factor.

You have to choose to be busy.  You have to choose to get involved, show up, take a class, run a race, work a job, those are all choices you make.  And the only cure to being busy is to take a reality check and see if you really need all those things in your life, or if they are just stall tactics you are using to keep busy so that you don't have to face the things you are really afraid of doing. The big things, the important things, the things that mean so much to you that the idea of actually working on them scares you to death. 

So here's our own personal reality check:

Kate and I love writing this blog.  It keeps us accountable, not only to each other, but to you.  It lets us talk about things we deal with that there aren't a lot of forums for.  But we've started to realize that we have both been using the blog as a busy tactic for avoiding our own personal work.  We spend so much time trying to develop great content here that we end up sacrificing the time we should be taking to work on our own artwork.  And as much as actually working on my personal artwork terrifies me, I know I need to start making choices that push me in that direction instead of away from it, so Kate and I have agreed that something needs to change.  We needed to make a choice to stop being busy and start being productive with our lives.

Never fear we aren't shutting down, just cutting back.  Instead of 5 posts a week, from this point on there will only be 3.  This way Kate and I can continue to provide you guys the best content we can without having it be at the expense of our own personal work time.

Now throw on your snuggie, grab a bag of cheetos and start doing a little reality check of your own!


  1. Things just got real! You have great concepts to consider and think about! I am sure that the book you wrote is just as captivating!