As Anxious Authors, we spend a lot of time in our own heads.
We’re on a journey to achieve dreams, to do things and become people we’ve always wanted. It’s a complex process and if we’re going to do it right, we need structure, discipline and hard work.
Sound familiar? We Anxious Authors do a lot of thinking and while that’s our best tool to progress, sometimes overthinking plants seeds of doubt in our minds. If we work harder, we’ll surely achieve our goals faster. Are we working hard enough? What if we’re not? Does that make us failures?
There are days days that we want to quit our jobs and write for a living, or we need to sell a bunch more books to help pay the extra big gas bill (thank you COVID-19). Those are the days we feel the burn of needing to achieve faster. To skip ahead to the end of the journey so that we can finally relax, right?
I hate to break it to you, but we’ll never relax. We’re ambitious creatures and when we’ve finished one thing we’ll be on to the next. Maybe the goal that comes next will be smaller, but it’s a goal nonetheless.
Although we have habits to compare ourselves with authors in our genres that have been in the game longer, it’s important to remember that we’re all on our own journeys. How long it’ll take us to move on to the next stage of it is anyone’s guess. But one thing is for sure: it’ll always take longer than we want it to.
With that in mind, I’ve got here a list of reasons why we should press pause on fretting about progress. Here’s why we need to embrace the stage we are at on our journeys:
Progressing too fast is counter-productive
Here’s an uncomfortable truth: we’re not always ready for the next step on our journey. We might feel like we are but that isn’t always true.
If we progress too quickly and without time to adjust to new levels of income or knowledge, we run the risk of getting ahead of ourselves. This can lead to all kinds of hurdles that we could have avoided, such as burn-out and feeling out of our depth.
Ambition is important but so is knowing when to hunker down and work on where we’re at right now.
We have lessons to learn here
You don’t start construction a building from the top down. Lessons that we’re supposed to learn later make less sense when we don’t learn what we’re supposed to now.
Our journeys, whether they’re writing journeys or not, are long and multi-faceted. Trying to learn everything at once is fruitless, so we have to settle for taking each lesson one at a time. Having a Matrix-style download of every life and industry lesson would be amazing, no doubt. But until someone develops the technology, we’ve got to put one foot in front of the other.
Let the eagerness we feel to reach the next step of our journey give us energy for what we need to accomplish today.
Enjoy the journey
Ever hear the saying it’s a marathon, not a race?
I’m not trying to say marathons are enjoyable, although in fairness I’ve never done one – they could be! I’m also not trying to say that we shouldn’t sprint every one in a while. But one thing is for sure, you won’t be sprinting the full 26 miles.
Sometimes we are going to progress a little slower than we’d like and when that happens, it pays to reflect. Dwelling on how far we’ve come and what we are doing right now to progress can be hugely motivational.
Take the time to enjoy your journey, especially at times when you’re feeling burnt out. Remembering its purpose, your ambitions and all you’ve done to get to where you are, are sometimes the best medicine.
Thanks for reading!