I went looking for an old folder in the basement boxes the other day, and I found a note to myself that looked very familiar.
It had a plan to get out of debt by a certain date. It had a goal to write a certain amount of creative content every day. It had a list of stuff that needed to be done around the house. It had a target weight goal. And it had a strong exhortation: “DO THIS!”
Except for the specific details, I could have written the note yesterday.
The date on the note was October 1989.
Today, I’m not out of debt, I still have goals for creative content and household contributions, and I still from time to time slap myself upside the head and say “WHY AREN’T YOU DOING THIS?”
I’m no slouch. I meet content goals every day at the day job, and nobody has to kick me in the ass to get that stuff done, not even myself. But the personal stuff? The dream of making a living with my creativity? The desire to be a better mate? Doing something about the extra chin and the beer belly? So reliable, I am not. (A belated little nod to Star Wars Day, there.)
That’s why I went into full panic mode a month ago when it looked like I was going to miss deadline on The Puzzle of the Talking Dinosaur. For at least a quarter century I have hectored myself to take my dreams and personal life more seriously. And lately I finally feel like a grownup because so far I’ve met the goal I set at the beginning of the year – write a 10,000 word Myke Phoenix story and release it on the first Monday of the month – and I like feeling like a grownup.
(Well, OK, I acknowledge I prefer feeling like a big kid, but grownups have to fulfill their commitments, not only to others but to themselves.)
So releasing the talking dinosaur story on April 7 was a big deal, and I was pleased with myself that I released another story a little more quietly on May 5, and I’m excited about my plans for June 2.
I think I’m not the only guy who ever let the quotidian of everyday life get in the way of his hopes and desires. So I feel like maybe if I keep making this monthly deadline, I can be an example you can pin your hopes on, too: If the guy with the 50-60 hour a week editor’s job can carve out time to write his version of the Great American Novel, maybe you can, too. So I have to make that goal so I don’t let you down, either.
It’s easy to be the brand I’ve earned over the years – the guy who promises a sequel to his novel or a weekly podcast, gets started and then peters out. Time for a new brand, the author of the monthly Myke Phoenix adventures, and maybe some other stuff down the pike.
I don’t care if the ebooks don’t sell and I make 5 bucks a quarter in royalties, because that’s not the point at this stage. If you want to try out the stories, I sure won’t object. But as a wiser kid than I once said, the journey is the reward, and my joy for now is in staying on the path.