Okay, here goes.
This is different.
On the right side of my screen, I have Jeff Goins’ book You Are a Writer showing.
On the left side of my screen is MacJournal, my current word processor of choice.
On iTunes I have some Dave Brubeck playing in the background.
And on my mind I have this little tug of war going between Jon Acuff’s concept of hiding places and Jeff’s 500 Word Challenge.
Let’s start with the tug of war and see what’s what.
“A hiding place is the safe place you go to hide from your fear of messing up. It’s the task that lets you get your perfectionism fix by making you feel successful even as you avoid your goal.”
Very valid thought about hiding places. So my question is: Is the 500-word challenge a hiding place?
Am I using it to make me feel successful even as I avoid my other more significant goals?
I asked myself that same question when I got about 15000 words into National Novel Writing Month.
And I stopped and directed my attention toward more meaningful projects.
But back to the point.
Jon talked about his diligent work on a blog on pro basketball. And he had eight followers.
And so while no doubt the blog helped him sharpen word smithing skills, he most likely could have done the same honing of language in authoring a book. His conclusion, not mine.
And so, it made me wonder about some of my online projects.
Am I just doing laps to feel accomplished, even though few people actually read the stuff?
And am I more interested in exposure or in just building consistency?
Or is ‘building consistency’ just a rationalization for avoiding the more substantial writing goals I’ve set?
Time for a quote from Jeff’s You Are a Writer:
Writing is active. It requires your fully conscious self. You need to show up and show us your gift. Until you do that, you’re just practicing in private. Playing around. Kidding yourself. Don’t do that. It’s time to put your work out there—not because you’ll succeed. Quite the opposite, in fact. You’ll probably fail (I’m such an encourager). But it’s important. Because in the failure, you can learn.
So, I’ll admit, that every time I post something, either in this challenge or in my other more active Word Inventions blog [My goal/experiment: one post per day for 365 days straight], it feels like an accomplishment. Not an earth-shaking, world-changing one, mind you. But there is that element of reaching the stage where something has been ‘shipped’.
I have to wonder what a conversation between these two might sound like if I lobbed this topic in their direction. Maybe that’s fodder for tomorrow’s post.
Side note: I’ve hit my 500 words, but I of course cheated because I included some quotes from Jeff and Jon. [Hey, they’re buying me my MacBook, I’d think by now we’re on a first name basis.] So I need to reach 600 words to nail my goal.
Okay, let me add to my confusion.
I can see me inciting a spirited discussion between the authors over hiding places vs. putting your work out there. But eventually it might evolve from ‘spirited discussion’ to a ‘But wait…we’re actually on the same page!’ love fest…
From Jon: Make It Fun If You Want It Done.
From Jeff: I wasn’t doing what I wanted. I was writing, but I wasn’t enjoying the process. I was only chasing results. So what did I do? I went back to the basics: writing for the love of it. Not profit or prestige. Not analytics or metrics. Just writing for the sake of writing. As a result, something amazing happened: I started to have fun. And the quality of my work soared. I finally felt free to do what I loved.
In essence, you two, make it stop! I need resolution! Or at least I need to go bake something.
I’ll get back to you on this. I’m heading for the kitchen…my hiding place, my noble obstacle. [Chapter 5 of Jon’s book]
Acuff, Jon. Finish (Give Yourself the Gift of Done). Jon Acuff. Kindle Edition
Goins, Jeff. You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) (pp. 43-44). Jeff Goins. Kindle Edition.
Goins, Jeff. You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) (pp. 45-46). Jeff Goins. Kindle Edition.
Goins, Jeff. You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) (p. 45). Jeff Goins. Kindle Edition.