Bumps In The Road

song in my head—”Playing Favorites” by The Starting Line

On January 10, 2019, I posted my first essay here at The Campfire, declaring in my head as well as publically that I would post every day (except on Sundays) from then on out. And I've done pretty well with that goal thus far.

Until this week.

I realized today I haven't posted since February 8.

There are many reasons for this (one being the 12-hour shifts I've been working at my day job), many excuses that could be made. But in the end, none of that matters. A few missed days doesn't equal failure. I said I'd write every day. Today is a day. Tomorrow is, too. But yesterday is gone. So why get hung up on it?

Some people are afraid of goals just because not hitting them makes us feel bad. So rather than changing their mindset about goals and outcomes, they never set them at all, never accomplish anything.

So yes, I haven't posted in 5 days. And it's easy, especially for us sensitive and self-doubting artist types, to focus on that. But today I choose to look at the positive—twenty-four essays posted since that day in January. Twenty-four pieces of myself put out into the world. For someone who hasn't blogged or shared his writing in nearly three years, I'd say that's a pretty good improvement.

There will always be bumps in the road. Resistance rears its ugly head to derail us. Sometimes it wins. But that's okay. The life of an artist—and life in general, really—is a marathon, not a sprint. Some days we run. Other days we can't. Either way, we're still in the race. And if we focus too much on the bad days, I've found they have the habit of metastasizing. Of multiplying. Of devouring us whole.

Let the struggles be what they are—a means to grow stronger—and focus on what lies ahead, one foot in front of the other.

—G

The Points Still Count

"Without a ruler to do it against, you can’t make crooked straight." — Seneca

song in my head—”Real World” by Matchbox Twenty

We would all do better in the wilderness with a guide, someone to show us the lay of the land—where not to go, what areas are good to explore, etc. And I don't think it limits our experiences to have boundaries of a sort.

Guides don't have to be "rulers," per se, though there are aspects of life that should inspire stricter order. For the purposes of the artist, I think the best guides leave some wiggle room, some space for improvisation and exploration. I don't think a healthy aim for life (or our work) is to plan on making one perfect, impossible shot after another. That's not realistic. Instead, think of guides as goalposts in football. The kicker has a range in which to score points. It doesn't matter if the ball goes straight down the center or barely eeks in. The points still count either way.

—G