Remember that Friends episode, the one where Chandler convinces Rachel to quit her waitressing job at Central Perk to go for what she really wants? Wait. Instead of explaining, here’s some of the dialogue from that particular ep. Thanks to http://uncutfriendsepisodes.tripod.com/season3/310uncut.htm for doing all the work for me.
Rachel: (sitting down next to Chandler) I’m training to be better at a job that I hate, my life officially sucks.
Joey: Look Rach, wasn’t this supposed to a temporary thing? I thought you wanted to do fashion stuff?
Rachel: Well, yeah! I’m still pursuing that.
Chandler: How… exactly are you pursuing that? Y’know other than sending out resumes like what, two years ago?
Rachel: Well, I’m also sending out…. good thoughts.
Joey: If you ask me, as long as you got this job, you’ve got nothing pushing you to get another one. You need the fear.
Rachel: The fear?
Chandler: He’s right, if you quit this job, you then have motivation to go after a job you really want.
Rachel: Well then how come you’re still at a job that you hate, I mean why don’t you quit and get ‘the fear’?
(Chandler and Joey both laugh)
Chandler: Because, I’m too afraid.
Rachel: I don’t know, I mean I would give anything to work for a designer, y’know, or a buyer…. Oh, I just don’t want to be 30 and still work here.
Rachel: (entering) Okay, stop what you’re doing, I need envelope stuffers, I need stamp lickers…..
Ross: Well hey, who did these resumes for ya?
Chandler: Me! On my computer.
Ross: Well you sure used a large font.
Chandler: Eh, yeah, well ah, waitress at a coffee shop and cheer squad co-captain only took up so much room.
Rachel: Hey-hey-hey that’s funny! Your funny Chandler! Your a funny guy! You wanna know what else is really funny?!
Chandler: Something else I might have said?
Rachel: I don’t know, I don’t know, weren’t you the guy that told me to quit my job when I had absolutely nothing else to do. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!!
Ross: Sweetie, calm down, it’s gonna be okay.
Rachel: No, it’s not gonna be okay Ross, tomorrow is my last day, and I don’t have a lead. Okay, y’know what, I’m just gonna, I’m just gonna call Gunther and I’m gonna tell him, I’m not quitting.
Chandler: You-you-you don’t wanna give into the fear.
Rachel: You and your stupid fear. I hate your fear. I would like to take you and your fear….
Ok, so you kind of get the idea of where I am right now. I’m not talking about quitting my day job, which I do like, just…
I have the Fear.
Only it’s not EXACTLY like what Rachel was going through. I am attempting to do something I’ve always wanted to do, but I have a job that currently pays the bills. And if this doesn’t work out for some reason, I believe that I have other options.
But as a writer…I am frozen. Frozen with the Fear.
I’m afraid that I’m going to look stupid, putting whatever I create out “there,” that there will be mistakes and messes, and I’m going to look like just another jerkoff who THINKS they can just slap together something and just throw it out there, and expect it to be great, but it’s just going to be a mess.
I’ve been writing since the age of 6. I started with a Halloween murder mystery in fourth grade, and continued on with bad poetry, diaries, horrible romance novel and other silly stories that will NEVER, EVER see the light of day. I abandoned this creative gift I have to take a journey down the theatrical path, to learn another craft, hone it the best I could, and gather some life experience along the way. Then, when the theatrical path basically abandoned ME, left me stranded, like a casualty of war, in the middle of the desert, I found the one creative oasis that had never abandoned me.
I started writing with a vengeance. It was incredibly therapeutic. There was a time in my life I didn’t think I would make it through, or get over. But I did. The second I typed “The End” on the first(ish) story that I had ever really finished, I felt the weight of this burden release me. I could breathe again. I was HAPPY. Well, happy, for ME.
Once that story was over, there were others racing to get out. I think I currently have 6 projects in various states of limbo, but there’s one, the one I have been working on since August 1, 2011, the one that I’m still stuck on, that’s giving me a hard time. I’m SO close to the finish line.
It’s been several weeks. I think it’s been nearly a month since I’ve really looked at this project. At first, I thought it was a good thing to take a little time away from the project before going back to finalize it. It also gave me time to send it out to a small knot of folks I trust to give me feedback.
I’m still waiting on a good chunk of this feedback.
While I was waiting, I decided to keep myself busy. I re-watched all 6 seasons of LOST. I finished a baby blanket for a friend, and started a blanket for myself. I had a Better Off Ted marathon. I started reading over another writer’s work in progress to help her out, as she did for me, to feel productive.
Now that I know that it’s past time for me to get back to work, I’m procrastinating. I’m SABOTAGING myself. I keep trying to tell myself that it’s just the fear trying to take hold, and that I need to push through it and get to work.
But there are so many excuses. Oklahoma’s lawmakers trying to take away a women’s right to her own body. I should be involved in that. Silly music fanb ase fighting. I should be teaching them how ridiculous this is. Death of a family member I’ve met once or twice in my life. My insomnia. My current state of health. All are good excuses (except that silly fanbase stuff), but NOT good enough that I need to give up.
And the thing is, I KNOW exactly what I’m doing, and why. I didn’t recognize it until I read a book that HRH Anne Lower had sent me a while back: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I am thankful on the daily that I have had this book to guide me on this journey.
In this book, Mr. Pressfield says that being paralyzed by fear is a good thing.
<insert maniacal laughter here>
Ok, what? Really?
He says that “Fear tells us what we have to do” and that “The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”
So I KNOW that this needs to be done, and that I HAVE TO HAVE TO HAVE TO do it. And then maybe the Fear will take it’s knapsack and hitch a ride down the road to the next victim it’s looking to conquer.
So I’m working on minimizing this mess I’ve gotten myself into. At least, I’m trying. Well, at the very least, I recognize what is happening, and I KNOW what needs to be done. That’s a good jumping off point. Now, I just need to finish clearing the clutter from my work space so that I can concentrate more fully on this project that needs to be completed before that year mark rolls around.
But right now, it’s 2:30 am, and I need to start really winding down so that I can go to sleep, wake up refreshed, ready to start the day, get the day job part over with, and get to the part where I don’t have to be there for 24 hours, and GET TO WORK.