Imagine you have a massive project. It’s taken you several years to finish. And it wraps up a major life project neatly and nicely.
You’re a winner!
How do you feel?
Wonderful. Rewarding, Happy. Grateful. Thankful it’s over. Light. Bubbling. Completed.
The More Important Question
But the more important question is how do you feel the next morning when you get up? Stare at yourself in a mirror knowing the only thing holding you back is now yourself?
There is no highway, no roadmap, no lifeline, no history, no guarantees. It’s all one big blank page of paper and it’s your job to fill it. You’ve left everything behind to follow in your wake and you’re heading off into the black, empty void.
How do you feel now?
How about terrified? Yeah, that works.
I Know This Feeling
I know this feeling. I’ve had similar feelings before.
When I took pilot training, I had to learn how to spin the aircraft (essentially allowing it to fall out of the sky) and then fix the problem. (Technically as long as the plane didn’t hit the ground, it was considered successful.) The first time I had to do it by myself (without an instructor to correct any problems) was a defining moment. I could do the task or walk away. Flying at 5000 feet, overlooking Lake Ontario I had one of of those moments. Do it or fly home and walk away. It was the big black unknown future staring me in the face. “Can I live with myself if I don’t do this?” Answer? I spun the plane. Safely. One big black future dealt with.
I know this feeling of blankness as an author. The first time I finished a book, I looked at the word processor the next day. It was blank, white and stared back at me in an insolent kind of way daring me to make a mark on the screen. Thirty major projects later, I still feel the same way when I look at a blank manuscript template. “Oh crap! Oh well, at least a mistake won’t kill me.” Hit the first key. Hit the second. My fingers take over and for better or worse, I’m off again.
Here I Go Again
This morning another black hole appeared. A big one.
Regular garden readers will know I’ve been downsizing and rebuilding my garden writing “empire.” I’ve managed to shrink it from seven websites down to three. In another week or two, the third will be folded into two survivors. But more importantly, it has taken a very long time to rebuild the code on each one of these pages, upgrade photos etc. It has taken far longer than I thought it would when I began the adventure. There were too many changes in direction and ambition along the way and the path wasn’t smooth.
But it’s now mostly done except for some code tweaking and a few pages I’ve probably missed here and there (with several thousand pages, it’s easy to miss some.)
But here’s that damn blank screen again. I worked around it this morning by writing this note. But both my muse and I know I’m only putting off the inevitable, the next terrifying project (whatever that may be).
And my guess is you sometimes feel the same way.