It is March 3rd as I write this, and my goal for the New Year has already failed.
That probably sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Everyone makes New Year’s Resolutions and wind up failing them around this time. That’s why this is the best time to join a gym – they’re bleeding members like crazy, so rates get competitive.
But my goal for the New Year wasn’t to work out more or eat healthier (those are always goals of mine), but to show up.
Showing up is essential to a creative entrepreneur
I’m a writer and an author. My goal is to keep doing these things for money – especially that second one.
And while I can keep food on the table by being a copywriter, my end goal is really to be publishing books for a living. That requires a couple of things, at a minimum:
- Consistently publishing new books, and
- Consistently showing up online
When these two things work in tandem, an author can build a dedicated, loyal audience for his work.
Pumping out books is something that needs to be improved upon, if only because I have been swamped with administrative stuff, like uploading new revisions and making sure paperback copies of my books are available.
But showing up is the hard part.
By “showing up”, I’m talking about hitting that publish button every day.
Being on social media.
Publishing new blog posts.
Distributing blog posts on Medium.
I need to be a consistent online presence if I want to build a fan base.
And I haven’t done these things.
What makes showing up hard?
There are a few different reasons why I’m struggling with this right now:
- Energy levels. There are days I just struggle to maintain the energy needed to write all day. I have a 4-month old baby, two little boys who love their Daddy, a wife that needs my attention and help, and stuff to do around the house. I often stay up later than I need to. My energy just isn’t there most days.
- A booked schedule. Currently, I’m managing 4 clients – which is 2-4 times as many as I normally have. This is great for the pocketbook, but it’s also rough to schedule around. Each of them needs my full attention and effort.
- Nothing to say. This one isn’t true, but it’s something that I tell myself a lot. Everyone has something to say. But there are days when finding whatever it is I want to say can be a bit of a struggle. So I give up on myself.
Now that I know the problems, how am I supposed to fix them? Or can I fix them?
You fix the problem by… showing up anyway
These problems are all just excuses.
They are reasons why I think I can’t do it, but none of them are particularly limiting.
I can take better care of myself and conserve my energy.
I can manage my time more actively and effectively.
And that last one? I have plenty of ideas.
The reason why I fall back on these is because my writing muscle is weak. I need to train it to show up. I need to force it to work through all that built-up scar tissue inside me from quitting so many times before.
Over time, as I push myself to show up over and over again, it will start to get easier.
Let it suck in the meantime
I sat down to write this one with no energy and about 12 minutes until I have to prep for a conference call with a client.
Getting going really sucked. I wasn’t sure what direction this would take. It had to be a natural flow of thoughts, rather than a carefully-outlined piece. That worked in my favor.
Still, I had to slog through that first part, where it feels like, as Kurt Vonnegut put it, “When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.”
Now I have another blog post to publish.
I showed up today. That’s the easiest part. The hard part will be showing up tomorrow.