Something, Anything

I’ve created this website to encourage myself to put writing and other creative work out into the world, regardless of how good it is. My hope is that someone, somewhere, reads what I have to say and finds some value and meaning in it, finds themselves changed, if only temporarily.

Writing means the world to me. It’s an infinite source of fulfillment and creative satisfaction, a cathartic antidote and recording device for pretty much any emotional state I may feel. Depressed? I write about my depression, understand it, untangle it, and it often makes me feel better. Elated? I record my thoughts to reinforce and remember those positive feelings. 

For all of my adult life (I turn thirty-one in eight days), I’ve said that I want to be a writer… yet I pathologically avoid writing anything that I can share with others. I tell myself I want to create, but don’t create. Outside of relentless journaling, I haven’t been nearly as productive as I know I can be. I know by now that this is primarily due to a fear of failure; i.e., reckoning with the inevitable imperfection of whatever I create, and the imagined emotional fallout from creating something less-than-perfect. I’m afraid that whatever I create won’t be good enough, up to my standards or someone else’s. Maybe it won’t land the way I hoped it would, and the work will feel meaningless. Maybe people won’t like it, or will outright reject it. My initial spark of inspiration must traverse a gauntlet of anxiety and overanalysis, and inevitably falls flat; I end up paralyzed by inaction. Words go unwritten, business ideas lay stagnant and filed away, projects gather dust.

There are two words I revisit frequently in my journaling, as a prompt to try to get me going: Something, anything. The intention is clear: lower your expectations of what your output must be, and just create. Create something, create anything. Whatever comes out will be better than had you done nothing at all.

I’m feeling an inherent tension in this philosophy, now more than ever. We are in an escalating war with a pandemic, one that will affect literally everybody in the world, in one way or another. Like most people, I want to do something to help. While governments struggle to lead their people to safety, I feel desperate to do something. Something, anything. But what can I do, really? How can I actually make an impact? I’m not a medical professional and, frankly, I don’t have many tangible skills, let alone those needed to perform the ‘essential’ societal functions that we so desperately need right now. And, of course, I’m pretty much bound to the apartment for the foreseeable future.

So, I’m doing what I can do. I’m reading about the subjects that interest me, exercising more, playing with my dog, and nurturing my human bonds with more attention and tenderness.

I’m not sure what role writing plays in improving the world. Perhaps words can help serve as a force for psychological realignment, and might encourage people to remember what’s important, and thus feel motivated to take action in whatever ways they can. But maybe it won’t do much other than help me.

Wouldn’t that be enough, though? Through writing, I am doing what I feel like I can do to help, by doing what feels right and necessary for me, by being true to my feelings and desire for action. Helping the world starts with helping yourself; you’re not going to make an impact if you feel paralyzed by fear and averse to action. 

To any reader(s), I encourage you to use this time to look within, and to really consider what it is you want to be creating, and what might be preventing you from acting on those goals and dreams. Ask yourself if those reservations really hold water. I.e., does it really matter what anyone thinks of me, if I’m doing what feels right? Does it really matter if my project doesn’t turn to gold? Of course not. You’re not going to create anything great if you’re not willing to create things that fall short along the way. You’re not going to help anyone by being afraid to do what you truly want to do. The only way you’ll help yourself, and anyone, is if you start, and do something. 

Something, anything.

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