03 June 2016

Day 23: Tiny Screens and Self-Esteems

"How ever will anyone find my hashtags on my authentically sourced manuscript?" she asked herself, hoping someone would notice how very early 90's "Blossom" slash Tom Petty she looked. (via)
On my way to work on a tiny screen, I started writing my book this week. The big book - the biggest thing I'll have ever created other than a human. (Humans count, right?)

It was going pretty well, all things considered. Sure - it was only 8 minutes with which to expound upon the joys of selling one's knitted puppy apparel, but those were 8 minutes I would've wasted staring at old farts in frumpy Fiats on the freeway.

Later on in the week, I decided I needed to do more than spend 8 minutes tapping at a screen. So I set up shop at a local coffeehouse/garage, treating myself to a mocha with whipped cream after an intense workout and got to work... reading things that would just make me hate & doubt myself for HOURS!

Lemme give you a pro-tip: 

Do not ask Louis C.K. if you're a writer, even if only through Google. If you do, he will tell you:
"I typically don't write out in the world. I think people who do that are exhibitionists, showing off that they are writers. And I say that because I've done it -- you want to be in a coffeehouse with your notebook and look really thoughtful."

And if you're procrastiworking by doing research for what makes a great expert, you could also twist in the winds of self-doubt for hours after reading the following super insightful article from the Editor-In-Chief & Director of 99U, Sean Canda:  

The Creative World's Bullshit Industrial Complex: 
Don't fall into the trap of being an expert before you're ready. We have enough of those.

Add in some insecurity and self-doubt and you've got the PERFECT writing environment in which to assure creative humans that they can achieve their dreams with a little help from a friend... moi.

Needless to say, at this point, I felt like utter shite. Who was I to advise them on how to be awesome? I was barely holding together my awesomeness... or what was now seeming to be perceived awesomeness.

As the post-punk bards started thrashing around loudly in the garage that was hooked up to the venue, I found myself surrounded by 20-somethings, hipster grab on parade, all trying to look thoughtful with their notebooks.


I wanted to grab a big chalkboard sign and put some other shit on parade for a minute:

I got 1.5 pages, 12 pt, double spaced. Basically, I wrote a little more than what would fit on a post-it. And I wanted to be proud of myself because I sat down a got words out. But there was this nagging voice int he back of my head:

Don't write because you want to be rich or famous. Write because you have something to say.

I have LOTS to say! I have sooooo much help to give. And yet, because in my intial project proposal (and on this blog) I openly stated that one of the goals of all of this writing is to be able to meet two people I super admire, Mindy Kaling and/or Tina Fey, this would seem to diminish my worthwhile goals?
I wanted to say that lofty goals are put out there because they keep you going. And just because I wanted cool things didn't mean I couldn't do a lot of cool things for cool people along the way.

 So, with those goals in mind, did that mean my meaningful contribution to the creative arena at large was a farce? Did I seem like I was just grubbing for gaudy homies?

No. No, it didn't. 

Reason: I'm willing to work my ass off whilst helping as many humans as possible in order to become a better human. 

If I wanted fame, I could find an easier way that staying up all night writing shit. If I wanted fortune, I'd go get a higher payin' job. If I wanted celebrity, I'd get my fat ass on a f*ckin' reality show! Lord knows I have the personality for one.

There are plenty of people who I admire that write things I enjoy consuming. But my favourite books are written with something to say other than "Look at me, I'm cool." They often say "I wasn't cool. I got a little better with a lot of hard work."

THAT, my friends, is why I kept typing. Those wise words from Mindy Kaling and my introvert twin, Meredith Smith. She's like the Amy Poehler to my Tina Fey.

I poured out my sad-faceness about my current inner dilemma and she did what she does best: present facts logically in order to prove a theorem. 

In this instance, her theorem revolved around me being a "crafty guru" that belonged in her circle of experts. 

Her logic for dismissing my insecure self-talk were sound. Her evidence regarding my methods and their effects on people who were trying to figure themselves out have been shown time and time again in people I have helped for almost a decade.

She was right. I wasn't doing this for money or fame (although I do want to leave a legacy for my son that shows his momma worked f*ckin' HARD to get him things by helping others), but it would be sweet if those things came along with it. 

I'm writing this book in spite of my puny self-esteem. I'm writing it on tiny screens and on pump-breaks at work. I'm writing and researching it while I work out 3 times a day and lull my baby to sleep. I'm putting in so much work on meeting people I can help and learn from, sometimes I forget I need to spend time with my kid!

When I realized how much of myself I've been pouring into this book, I knew Meredith was right.

Haters gonna hate, but makers gotta make, b*tches.

- Steph

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