Finishing things, creative stalwart, and the fear of failure
About a year ago, I decided to stop posting un-original content (unOC) on this blog for fear that people visiting it wouldn’t be able to get a good read on who I am and the things I do, since I also use this as the “news” portion of my site. Ideally, this would just slim it down to more focused content… except for my not actually having enough content to fill it. Instead I ended up just reblogging things that somewhat have to do with me. Now I’m worried that it all looks narcissistic. I always see things I would have normally blogged (or tumbld) in my “previous” tumblr life, but I pass on them now with a scant click of the heart because I’d now, for some reason, would consider my blog “tainted” by some unOC. That’s the problem though, really, is that I view it as tarnishing some clean “record” or “streak.” This is an extension of not wanting to finish things due to wanting a clean-cut set of finished content — it sticks me in a creative limbo. My focus on posting more original content (OC) wasn’t entirely misguided except for the problem of actually finishing anything I start.
As it stands, I have two half-finished scripts, five music video treatments in various states of (unfinished) development, two EPs less than 1/3 of the way done, and a handful of other things I’ve never got around to limping across the finish line. I make lists and whittle away at this thing one day and that thing another day, but nothing actually comes close to being a rough draft or first pass (although I’d probably argue that what I do have finished is pretty damn good on account of being gone over with a fine-tooth comb countless times). I’d like to say that I work towards finishing, but I think I just take steps to the side or walk around in concentric circles or retread (or whatever other metaphor is the opposite of taking steps forward).
Is it fear of failure? Maybe, although I’m not too conscious of being afraid of failing (in fact, I’d say I’m pretty welcoming of the idea), but it’s related to that though, for sure. Like not wanting to sully my blog, I see future projects as potential missteps outside a nice, clean set of finished projects I have already. Like, maybe looking at it like it’s a garden (or something, I’m horrible at analogies): I have a very meticulously cultivated garden that’s been pruned and weeded and etc to a very specific point and thinking of adding something new to it is just too risky. Maybe that is fear of failure though, but on a personal level. I’m not particularly bothered by someone disliking something I’ve done, but clearly I’m very bothered by me disliking something I’ve done.
“But, if you don’t like it, why would you say it’s finished?” Hey, I believe I’ve stumbled upon the root idea: my fear of failure is a fear of letting myself down and not knowing exactly what will trigger my disappointment cripples any creative development. I know my abilities and what I’m good at and I work within those limited means without branching out because I’m terrified (honestly, it causes me loads of anxiety) to besmirch what I’ve done already (as if things can be soured retroactively). I’m not sure even acknowledging this will make a difference — it’s something I’ve been aware of for years. It doesn’t entirely explain why I’m incessantly obsessive about perfect sets and organized bodies of content, but it might at least point to the source of the problem. At least I’m posting something that’s not a picture of my face, although this is arguably more narcissistic.