Self-Reflection, Disappointment and Progress

At the start of the year, I had planned to finish the second draft of my book to give to my editors in hopes of publishing in the fall. It’s now May and I’m still not done writing it. This started hitting me a bit harder as I noticed Authors I look up to publishing books within roughly a year of each other. How could I ever be a successful author if I couldn’t live up to that. My first book was published April 2017 and now it’s been a full two years and I still haven’t released the second book. While this isn’t the worst failure, it did lead to a recognition of other failings I’ve had this year.

Like a lot of things in life, instead of bothering others with my problems because I’m really bad at asking for help, I tried looking at it objectively starting with the statement “I feel like a failure” and then asking why. Answering the question, I kept on asking why and why further and further until I got to a point where I got stuck.

I feel like a Failure. Why?

I’m four months late finishing the draft for my book. Why?

Not enough time in the day to do everything I want. Why?

I have a lack of focus. Why?

Poor Time Management. Why?

I get easily distracted. Why?

I have too many projects/hobbies. No that’s an excuse, why do you get distracted?

I think too much, my mind wanders into scenarios and ideas that probably won’t happen. Why?

Fear of Failure for the most important part of my life/identity. Why?

A third of my life spent on writing this story and learning to call myself a writer and not feel like a fraud for it. But with all the other things I try to do in life, why do I dedicate so much time to things that don’t further my goal of writing?

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time thinking about this last statement because I couldn’t answer it. It wasn’t ignorance because I know what I have to do to promote my book, to write my next book and to get better at writing and drawing. As I always do, I started overthinking way too much about about my past failings and fell into a rut where, instead of doing something productive to further my goals, I just did nothing but wallow in sadness. I spent a lot of April just, for a lack of a better explanation, kind of falling apart. I stopped reading, I barely had the discipline to write and draw, I struggled to go to the gym and stay on a healthy diet. As we all know, this just makes the problem worse.

To try and pull myself out of this rut, I turned to YouTube to find motivational videos to help me get back on track. Most of those videos are the cliché “Inner strength” “You can do it” “Show them up” videos that feel good at first but really don’t have too much of a lasting impact. It wasn’t until I stumbled onto a couple videos from Markiplier that I started to think a bit differently about my work ethic and progress. While the first one about dealing with creative sadness I stumbled on made me recognize that I am human and will fail now and then, it was really the second one about believing in yourself that helped me bounce back. To see one of the men I had a deep respect for talk about how these low points hit everyone and that it’s ok. It really did make me feel ok to fail as long as I kept going. I can’t lie I had to rewatch these videos a few times to really get the message to stick.

I realized that, like he talked about, I was being way too hard on myself for failing at my goals. I wasn’t happy because I was hating myself for not living up to my own expectations. I kept comparing myself to other authors and artists when really I should be comparing myself to who I was yesterday. Looking back on this year alone, there were definitely days I felt lost, hopeless and generally bad about my progress. But I did recognize that there were days where I did accomplish a lot. I did make some great progress and who I am now is better than who I used to be and really that’s what matters. Even if I’m not achieving my goals as fast as I would like, as long as I’m getting closer to that goal that’s what matters. 🙂

I’m sorry that this post is a bit of a ramble, but I felt that it was important to talk about. I feel like a lot of us really do suffer from these high standards we set for ourselves and not forgiving ourselves for failing. It’s so easy to fall into a pit of despair and forget about all of the great things we’ve accomplished and/or are working towards.

I know I failed with the schedule I had set for myself in April and I’m hoping I can get back on track starting May onwards.

Thanks for taking the time to read my craziness.

Hope you all have a great life!

– Raphael

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