Okay, so this is what you have to do: Stop complaining to yourself about yourself, stop telling yourself the same story over and over about how you could have/should have done something different/better, and stop ruminating about what could have been and should have been.
Stories can empower or disempower us. They can help us make sense of the world, of ourselves and of others. But stories that are stuck on the groove of blahblah and do nothing but perpetuate our own dismay or misery are a waste of our precious time.
A few months ago I was stuck in my own blahblah story called If I call myself a writer, then why aren’t I writing? What am I? A fraud? So I said to myself: ‘Self, here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to shut up with the ‘I’m not really a writer’ story and write some stories. Every day for the next 30 days, you’re going to write a story a day. And your time starts… NOW!’
‘Now?” I said incredulously to self. ‘But it’s the middle of the month! Makes more sense to start at the beginning of the month. Good idea, but I think I’d better start it in two weeks’ time.’ BAH BOOWWWW. Copout!
I knew very well if I didn’t start writing that very day, it wouldn’t happen; that life would rear its loud and dominant head and I’d give the unwiped kitchen bench priority over the untyped keyboard. I’d be too busy, too tired, too uninspired, too blahblah.
And so back at myself I did speak: ‘Write now! Right now! Who cares if it’s the middle of the month? Middle schmiddle! Bah humbug!’
So I did. I began that very day with story number one and continued to write for the next 29. I’m proud to announce that I now have a collection of 30 stories. Some are stupid, some are trite, some have hidden gems, some are gems. Doesn’t matter. I wrote, just like I told myself I would. I also gave myself permission not to make them masterpieces, and not to put on my editor hat until the 30 days were up.
(The whole month-long task drew on many of my strengths: creativity, perseverance, enthusiasm, honesty, hope, humour, self-control and wisdom. Strength saturation!)
Writing creatively every day was like visiting a long lost friend. Sure, my priorities are different nowadays with my other (non-fiction) writing, but I felt comforted and confident that I hadn’t lost it. That I could still write good dialogue, shiny metaphors, and kick-butt similes. Ah yes, the world is large, and so is my imagination.
If I can do it, you can do it. Maybe your story isn’t to do with writing, maybe it’s something totally different. Whatever it is you just don’t get around to because [insert your story of why here], then it’s time to bite the bullet. Commit. Do something about it. Go for a walk right now. Pick up the phone and call that person right now. Go see a movie right now. Tell your son you love him right now. Don’t eat that donut right now (chuck it in the bin right now). Google ‘language classes’ right now. Go to sleep right now. Get out of bed right now. Choose the paint colours for that wall right now. Clean the gutters right now. Stop. Breathe. Do. Right now.
Grab the Right Now Bull by the horns and commit to doing those things you’ve been putting off . Stop the story.
And stop the blahblah.