My Monkey Madness: How I learned to push through doubts and finish projects.
When I start a project I'm always super excited. I'm hyped up about all the possibilities. Everything is wonderful. I can't wait to get started and I'm loving every moment of the project.
Then out of the blue the excitement just disappears. Completely. Suddenly I'm questioning what I'm doing. Should I be dong something else? Is this stupid? Is this a waste of time? Couldn't my time be better spent? Everyone is probably going to hate this aren't they?
My mind becomes a swirling mess of anxious and doubting questions. I don't want to work on my project anymore. I'm not excited anymore and now think it is the dumbest idea ever. I freeze up. I don't want to do this big project anymore. Sometimes it gets so bad I can't work on it.
This happens a lot of times when I start something new. Even little things like the #dailyzoodle and setting up Meety Mondays. The anxious feeling is a lot easier with small things like that. I just power through and get it out there. It is too late to turn back and done before I get a chance to get stuck in my own head. Those 2 projects only took me a couple hours to get done and out on the internet. In the middle of setting them up, I had to ignore the little voices in my head spewing negative thoughts.
The anxious worrying is a lot easier to power through if you only are dealing with it for a couple hours and then project accomplished. A project like March Monkey Madness though, is months worth of work. Squshies themselves are a bit like a never ending project, that I'm constantly excited for and worried about.
When I first started the Squshies these doubtful feelings were a bit out of control. There were sometimes weeks were I couldn't do much. I often would go to bed crying. It is a very self sabatogey feeling. You know with out a doubt that you have to try things to accomplish things. If you don't try, you'll never succeed. You also know that nothing bad will happen from trying to do this thing you are trying to do. Yet you're constantly filled with thoughts trying to prevent you from trying. It was crazy. I hated it.
There were a lot of other things that were filling up my head at the time that made this time extra difficult, but this doubting anxious feeling was a big part and made everything I was trying to figure out harder.
Thankfully, over the last year, I've gotten a lot better about this and those extremes are quite rare. I'm now able to recognize that I do this. I can acknowledge that I'm getting into this negative head space. Somehow, just being able to recognize that I'm doing that thing that I hate doing, has really helped.
I've learned that it is pretty much mandatory for me to take at least an hour or two before I go to bed, to do something that is completely unrelated to my project, to prevent these nasty feeling sneaking up on me when I'm trying to sleep. Also having people around me be willing to listen to how I was feeling. This had to be frustrating. So many of my thoughts were negative and unfounded and I felt like I just kept repeating myself over and over. I was frustrated hearing myself.
March Monkey Madness has been a new and the biggest of Squshie project I've ever started. The bad feelings have been a lot higher with this project. Luckily, I was able to tackle the negative feelings pretty early on. They try to sneak up every now and again, but I've reached a point where I've put so much work into that project that I can just ignore them.
I know, despite the best efforts of those bad feelings, that I'm excited about this project. I can't wait to share this project. At the end of this project, no matter what happens, I've done something I'm proud of. Those little voices can just shut their faces. It feels good to finally feel like I'm winning and have the upper hand against the bad thoughts.
I decided to ramble on about this because I've realized that if I experience this, others probably do to. I know I really appreciate it when people who's work I admire talk about the challenges or struggles they face. It is nice to know you are not alone. That people you might have thought have it together and under control don't feel that ways sometimes.
Doing something creative for a living isn't always rainbows and sunshine. I feel it is important to acknowledge that. I this little ramble is helpful to others.