Hanging From A Zip Line Over The Abyss

someone, please, take photoshop away from me

someone, please, take photoshop away from me

So you’ve begun. You’ve done a tremendously brave thing and taken a chance and jumped off that (metaphorical, unless you’re hang-gliding), cliff. You breathed deeply, closed your eyes, maybe yelled “Geronimo!” and you’re off on your next great adventure/project/bucket-list item.

It’s exhilarating at first… but then the hard work starts. You lose your way. Things get tedious: the muscles and the mind and the willpower groan with fatigue. The inner critics tell you that your work sucks and you’ll never finish and even if you do everyone will find out that you’re a total poser and a loser. Distractions call from every corner, promising progress and relief and fulfillment of “shoulds”.

Halfway across and hanging on for dear life, your momentum is threatening to slow down. You can’t go back, don’t want to let go, and there’s either no clear end in sight or if there is, it’s a long way off.

Now what?

In a phrase often attributed to Winston Churchill, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”  Or less delicately, “KBO (keep buggering on)”.  It’s both an encouragement and a warning; stopping might mean getting used to hell, which isn’t a good condition to be in for anyone, but especially not a creative artist.

So keep going. Finish the project even if it’s a piece of crap. You can always go back and edit later, and even if you don’t you’ll have learned something about your craft and about yourself.

And you’ll be able to look back and know that You Did It. You finished the marathon even if you didn’t win – you made it across the abyss and the world is a slightly better, more interesting place for your having made the effort.

KBO, dear readers, KBO.

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