I recently began work on my second book, but this past week I decided to quit. Not just quit the book, but quit my dreams and aspirations.
You may be saying, “But Tones, didn’t you just write about not being afraid to fail?” Yes. That’s the saddest part of all.
After a little bit of reflection, I decided, “What was the point?” I looked back on the past 14 years of my life and all the different creative endeavors I’ve tried. I considered how none of them have ever really taken off. Radio and TV shows. Stand up comedy. Songwriting. Blog writing. Book writing. Speaking. Nothing has ever really kept going for me.
I started to feel like the same trend was going to happen with my writing. And then I realized it was already happening.
In my sudden depression, I gave up on the spot. I decided, “It’s just not worth the effort. I’m better off taking that time and devoting it elsewhere.”
I’m no stranger to spontaneous doubt explosions in my life, but I can normally shake them off. I talked to my wife Brittany about it, and she tried to dissuade me of my decision, but she was unsuccessful. I went to bed concluding I was done.
I thought I’d wake up free from the burden of feeling like I needed to write and produce something. Instead I woke up feeling pretty empty. Like I’d lost a friend.
My wife helped me snap back (and I’ll tell you about that in my next post). I realized I had taken my eyes off of why I was doing what I am doing.
Will I ever end up on the NY Times Bestseller list? The odds are not in my favor. But that hadn’t ever been my writing goal. I write because I feel like I am supposed to, and I write because I like it. I don’t love every moment of laboring over my writing, but I like typing out my thoughts while listening to the film scores of Hans Zimmer. I like that one day my grandchildren will be able to know me in a way I never knew my grandparents.
Being a bestselling author is a lofty goal that very few writers achieve. It’s fine to have aspirations, but if we hold ourselves to goals like that, we will always feel like quitting. And if we hit those goals, they still won’t be enough.
Ambition is a wild animal. It’s hard to tame it and keep it under control.
If you don’t have any ambition, you’re boring. If you have too much, you’re obsessed with an idol. Balance is the challenge.
Success can have many definitions. Perhaps one of them should be, “The ability to keep going even when you’ve been unsuccessful.”