I’ve always enjoyed writing. Whether it’s been songs or essays, I just like doing it. I get it from my mother who got it from her mother. After reading a lot of Donald Miller and a book called Quitter by Jon Acuff, I decided that I wanted to start writing blogs consistently. I used to write them as I felt I wanted to talk about something specific, but I started feeling like God just wanted me to stick with it more. So I challenged myself to write three posts a week.
My first post on the site gives a good breakdown of why I started. I said that even if no one ever reads anything I post, I would still keep writing. I’m writing for myself and God, and if anyone wants to peak in on it then they can.
Honestly, I still do believe that, but it’s become something I have to keep myself grounded in. I sometimes wish they would have never invented the “Like” button on Facebook or that that there was no possible way of seeing how many people were reading what I wrote. Sometimes I wish there were no comment sections and that no one could tell me what they thought about what I wrote. I get excited if a certain post gets a lot of views, but then I can get discouraged if another one doesn’t get as many. It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers and feedback. So much so that you forget why you started out to do it in the first place. I have to keep myself focused on the goal, and the goal is just to produce something. Something I think I’m supposed to.
I need a creative outlet. I need to be speaking. I feel God wants me to just start talking, and maybe he’ll bring listeners around. Maybe he won’t. I just have to keep writing. I think this is because we are all meant to be producing something. And truthfully, we are always producing something. It’s just a question of what.
I’m someone who can tend to be pretty hard on myself. I’m my own “father I’ll never be good enough for.” I’m by no means a perfectionist, but it’s hard for me to produce something and be really proud of it. Again, this comes from me taking my mind off of why I’m doing it in the first place.
When I get stuck writing a simple post, the thought that helps me get it done is this: “I only have to make one point.” I’m not writing three books a week. Just three posts. When you have a deadline, even if it’s one you gave yourself, it removes most of your chances to be a perfectionist. You just have to produce something.
I think that’s why South Park is so good and has won so many awards. Did you know they produce an entire episode in the span of a week? They literally have nothing written or drawn before Thursday, and by the following Wednesday they have an entire episode. (It takes about 7 months to produce one episode of Family Guy from start to end.) They don’t have time to polish it and analyze it for weeks. That may also contribute to why some weeks it’s not so good, but I think we can learn something from their process.
So many people sit on their gifts because they are never satisfied with what they’ve written, painted or tried to perfect. Some people go into hiding or depression when they’ve worked on something for years and it fails. That’s because they aren’t used to failing weekly. Learning to put yourself out there can hurt, especially in this culture that is trained to look immediately for what’s wrong with something. But it also strengthens you. It causes you to produce with conviction.
I’ll have people respond to my posts and completely miss the entire overarching (obvious) point of it. They’ll find the one typo or sentence they disagree with and try to rip me apart. I’m serious. I don’t ever enjoy that. I want everyone to agree with me, but they don’t. I can’t let that stop me from doing what I love doing, and what I feel I should be doing. And neither should you.
Robin Williams said that stand up comics can be the most versatile actors because doing stand up comedy makes you fearless. You’ve tried everything and more to get people to laugh. As someone who’s done his share of live comedy, there’s nothing like a room full of blank stares and a heckler who is louder than you are. But part of growing in our gifting is moving past the hecklers. It’s learning how to respond to the opposition. It grows you.
Producing makes you just do something and learn to be all right with the fact that everything you create is not going to be a hit. We are all producers already. We give off positive or negative energy to our coworkers. We teach our children by our actions. We take up space in a restaurant. We all produce something.
I would encourage everyone to find ways of doing what you love doing and finding a way to producing something each week. I have a friend who started writing on Facebook, “3 Things I learned today.” I think it’s brilliant. He’s producing. Giving yourself a week deadline is a great way to start.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Walt Disney quotes.
“My business has been a thrilling adventure, an unending voyage of discovery and exploration in the realms of color, sound, and motion. And it has been a lot of fun and a lot of headache. The suspense has been continuous and sometimes awful. In fact, life might seem rather dull without our annual crisis. But after all, it is stress and challenge and necessity that make an artist grow and outdo himself.”