Keep it in until you can’t

A few weeks back I was interviewing Lori Saitz of Zen Rabbit. In the middle of a far ranging conversation we stumbled upon a discussion of the conflicting advice you get when you are setting a new path for yourself, a new goal.

Frequently you will hear this: State your goal out loud to as many people as you can, so that you harness the sheer weight of social pressure to keep you moving toward that goal. Or better yet, establish an accountability partner to keep tabs on your progress.

Then there are others who will advise you to keep the dream in your heart, lest others trample the idea too soon with their own opinions. This scenario makes sense in this way — your desire is born of your experience and could not possibly have the same import to someone else unless they are closely aligned already to that particular dream.

Let’s say . . . oh, some newbie fifty-ish dude wants to start up a blogsite. Were he to yak around town about this there might be some who would question his sanity. What are you thinking?! You’ve got a raucously bad business environment! What is that going to lead to?! What a waste. You think you’re contributing?! What have you got to contribute? Leave that for the fey intellectuals . . . .

But, same fresh though now slightly dejected fifty-ish guy talks to his thirty-something friend who already has a blogsite going — that would be you Travis Thomas (check him out by the way) — and suddenly it is the coolest way to make a contribution without breaking a sweat.

My synthesis of these two seemingly conflicting strains of thought is this: Keep it to yourself until you can’t!

I’ll give an example that I gave to Lori. When I first started writing the book The World Is Freaky Beautiful two-plus years ago (yes, there’s a book . . . this website is its spawn), I told no one. I’m not even sure my wife knew. Perhaps she thought as she’d enter the room and I’d slap the laptop shut, Oh it’s come to this, internet porn. And then perhaps she thought this, Yay, now I’ll get to shower alone sometimes.

Because I spent eleven years in New York City where everyone my age then was an actor, a writer, an artist, a dancer, a musician, a somebody creative and alive! — I quickly learned to go the opposite direction.

I wouldn’t allow myself to talk about being a writer — not even for seduction purposes, cuz you know how exy-say writers are in New York City — unless I’d actually written the day before.

I tired quickly of the writers who hadn’t written in five years and the musicians who never seemed to practice and the artists who drank hard after a hard day of not creating art, you know how difficult it is to keep good art in all day.

Because of this I speak to no one when I begin a project. Until I can’t help my damn self! Until I’ve gotten so far into the new thing that no one can stop me. Because by this time I’ve got momentum, baby, and ain’t no one gonna stop that train.

Which is why I’m not blasting this blogsite out to anyone till I get a few more articles under my belt — then nothin’s gonna slow this blogtrain down . . .

My ABCs: Always be creating
Why I encourage you to curse like a sailor -- from a foreign port