Welcome to My Epic Fail: 4 Creative ‘Pauses’ You Need to Take When You Can’t Get Over Yourself

Fail_title.pngThere it is. That other 4-letter word that has become so popular of late – F-A-I-L. Too popular, in my opinion, as we all look at it as a positive thing these days. Hey, I’m not saying it’s not positive – I try not to judge these days – but I do believe it is merely a word. How we use it and how it helps us to be better is where its best use can be found. So today, I’m using it for good. My own good especially.

Here’s how Google defines fail:  be unsuccessful in achieving one’s goal.

Language and its literal meaning is a standard and crucial part of my creative process, and I can’t believe it took me so long to apply it to my own project.

Ok, so being unsuccessful in achieving my goal is how I’m feeling today, the last day of my “Blogging for Fun and Profit” class. This website is my final project, and it is due by midnight tonight. Up until last night, I was doing what students often do: cramming, rushing, feeling anxious, and just plain freaking out. Until I paused, stepped away (I had dinner to make) and got a grip on my so-called sitch.

Why was I freaking out? I wasn’t sure. The one thing I knew was that I was making this bigger than it really was. I have a knack for doing that. Ah to be a creative… I had to come to grips with the core of the problem. I am afraid I will FAIL.

Ok, I can work with that. It’s my job in real life to find the core problem, and then set the path toward a solution. So I (finally) applied my own practices and process, which require, first and foremost, the need to pause. So that’s what I’m gonna do, in real-time.


Get Positive: Change how you’re seeing it.

Rarely does any good come from negative sentiment or energy. So, I gave my approach a 180° turn, and started to list things I didn’t have to worry about:

I was pretty much there as it related to the pieces my project had to have in order to pass:

  • Branding and clear messaging to support: As a branding expert, I’d put a lot of thought into this up front, and was relatively happy with it.
  • I only had one more blog post to write: Three down and one to go. They weren’t great, but they were a solid start and I was getting better with each one
  • I had a decent user experience: It wasn’t what I’d deliver to a client, but I went with what was provided by WordPress, and I’d done it all myself.
  • In 24 hours, I’d be able to move one: The pain I was feeling would pass once I hit this milestone. I know what the home stretch feels like, and I’m a master at it.

Huh, the mountain looks a lot more like a molehill now.


Get Perspective: Change your storyline

Now that I had a more positive outlook, It was important to shift my perspective and minimize the challenge I was perceiving. What were my initial goals? You know, the ones I’m terrified of not achieving? So I made a list of why I enrolled in the first place:

  • To learn how to design and build a blog: Check!
  • To hone my writing skills for the purpose of improving my storytelling ability: Check!
  • To be the catalyst of restarting my career as a content creator, and marketable old guy: Oh, that’s a major check!
  • To prove to myself that I could do it: I think you know my answer by this point… CHECK!

Well, I’m breathing normally again… Next!


Face the challenge(s): And get over it

Only now that I’d changed the energy I was putting toward this endeavour, could I revisit the negative with the goal of completely changing my perspective. I made a list of the things that were holding me back:

  • It’s not good enough. Ok, so what? What IS good enough, considering this is my first crack at it, it works, and nothing is ever perfect. Over it.
  • It isn’t what I’d envisioned. Envisioned when? When I knew zilch about the process of creating a blog? Is this even a fair comment? Nope. Over it.
  • When it’s done and launched, I’m committed. CRAP! First of all, it’s a blog. It’ll never be done. I AM committed. This class has shown me what it takes to maintain a decent, if not successful blog. I know I’m committed, and the work has only just begun. Over it.
  • This is hard! No shit Sherlock. When did I get so soft? I’m not soft, and especially with myself. Suck it up buttercup. Over it.

Ok, I’m all good. Let’s do this!


Get a plan: And Get Moving

Take a deep breath, get clear on what’s left to be done in order to be ‘good enough’ and make a plan – in 10 minutes or less. Time is of the essence, so here it is:

What I need to do to get this project done and handed in on time: (again, in real time people!)

  • Write one more post. You’re lookin’ at it! It has taken me one hour. I’m getting faster at this
  • Lay out and Publish this post. Design is my jam – 1 hour.
  • Revise and edit all my posts and pages. Editing is my forte – 90 minutes
  • Integrate with at least one Social Media outlet.
    • My Instagram is ready to go, I’ve been posting regularly for the past 6 weeks.
    • I just need to find out what I need to do with WordPress. Easy, I already started looking for the solution. There are many! I give myself 2 hours including 30 minutes with my teacher that I booked)
  • Step away, then give it all one last QA. (Hey that rhymes)
    • I will need to walk away from it for at least 1 hour, busy myself with something that clears my head, and switches me from writing mode to editing mode. 2 hours – one hour break, one hour to review. More than that means I’m messing with things I shouldn’t mess with.
  • Send an email to my teacher with the link and thank her for all the knowledge she shared and how useful her class was. It’s amazing what we can overlook when in cram mode – 30 minutes.

Ok, so as of right now, I have 8 hours to get’er done. One working day. I can do that!

OMG, I feel sooooo relieved. Not only am I confident I can get this done, I can’t wait to get going on my plan.

Worst case scenario? Refer to title of this post.

If you’ll excuse me, I have some work to do.

No more pauses for me today.

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