I’ve defaulted to the phrase “things are a mess” a lot over the past year, though more recently I’ve tried harder to avoid it. It originally began as a result of self-consciousness over my habit of over sharing. I started realizing if someone asks how you are they don’t really want to know every detail of your over packed schedule and work load, or all of the ways in which you feel like you’re continuously falling behind. Saying something along the lines of “things are a mess” made it easier for me to explain to people how I was feeling, without having to explain all of the reasons why.
I’m tempted to use the phrase here to explain the way my creative pursuits have gone the way they have. I’m tempted at the same time to explain the finer points of why The April Project (my over ambitious personal project and general mass output of content) went the way it did. Realistically, neither make sense. To say “it was a mess” discredits it and makes it sound like a failure, when really it just wasn’t a total success. In this way oxymorons are a man’s best friend.
I laid plans, they went awry. Ultimately it isn’t a surprise. When I planned The April Project I did it half expecting it not to work out. Despite falling short of all of my goals it was worth it; I learned a lot about myself, about output, about planning. To challenge myself in my creativity and my efficiency in creative pursuits was ultimately the point, and in this way things were a total success.
Another thing I’m learning is that 1. there isn’t this mass audience out there expecting me to put out content from any or all outlets on a regular schedule and 2. even if there were the point of half the things I do is for the project itself, I can’t get hung up on what other people might want or expect. Would it be nice to put out content on a regular basis and slowly grow some form of following? Obviously. But if I let that be the only thing I’m worried about then there isn’t much point.
Right now I’m learning how to produce and share content in the first place, doing so on a regular basis comes later.
Now, obviously, April was now two months ago. Normally I might have continually played catch up the next few weeks, but I intentionally chose to put things on pause and place my focus else where. I took a Maymester summer class that has required a fair amount of attention and that resulted in a new small collection of poetry that I’m quite proud of, and by not worrying about old goals from April I was able to focus on new ones for May. I’m in a period of starting at the bottom and building my way back up. I’ve taken this summer to focus on personal reading I’ve planned, as well as building a routine that will allow me to be more successful as a whole in the future (i.e. avoiding late nights and late starts to the next day). At the same time it’s been a good opportunity for me to take a step back from everything and everyone I’m usually around. I’ve been giving myself permission to take things easy, to brainstorm, to plan, knowing that if I do so now it will leave me better off in the future.
At this particular moment I’m getting used to the new schedule that comes with the rest of my summer, I started working agin this week and I begin another summer class this coming Monday. I’m giving myself room to breath and think, to be proactive and not just reactive. I have plans for work I’m wanting to produce and share over this summer, but they’ll come with time, no reason to set goals now in such a way that they become restrictions, because then they aren’t goals at all.
So a toast: To summer, to the plans we lay that go awry, and to self, always self