How to keep going. / by Simeon Smith

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“If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” - Toni Morrison.

Have I ever mentioned how much of a fanboy I am when it comes to Austin Kleon?

I may have done so a few hundred times. 

His books have inspired and helped me, and his attitudes towards life, music, art, parenting... are just beautiful. 

This week he posted on social media a picture of a cardboard file box. On it, scrawled in sharpie, HTKG, a cryptic clue to the title of the book he's writing at the moment. The comments section when a bit crazy with suggestions of what it could stand for, but given the titles of his last two books (Steal like an Artist, and Show Your Work) the simplest seemed the most likely, Ockham's Razor and all that. 

How To Keep Going. 

That's the book I need to read right now. 

Last week I had some shitty times. I was as ill as I've been in recent years, had some family stuff going on, and had a lot of things to prepare for this week. If you've ever had a conversation with me ill, I'm even more of a grumpy arsehole than I am normally. 

I enjoy being productive. I like to be busy. Sometimes it's probably not the healthiest, but fuck me I've got only got my three score and ten on this earth and I'll be damned if I'm not filling as full as an all-you-can-eat buffet plate on student discount night. 

But this week...

Today I was supposed to be recording music with a friend. He had other stuff crop up, so I now have an evening "free".

A nagging voice in the back of my head tells me there's tonnes of things I SHOULD be doing. 

And I reply no. There are things I COULD be doing. 

Or I could fuck around on the internet, write this blog post, make myself a mug of cocoa, and retire to bed early with a good book. 

But that scares me. 

What if I never do the things? What if I find myself in a mental health state, as I have many times previously, where I can't do the things? What if the delays on things due to my overcommitment means I let others down? 

How do I keep going? 

  • One day at a time. Today, I'm not up for anything. Tomorrow may be different.
  • Lists. Currently via Trello
  • Fitting things in. This week I have a photoshoot before work. Next week I have breakfast with a co-conspirator before my shift. I squeeze stuff into my lunch break. I ride trains and get stuff done.
  • Setting myself pointless deadlines. 
  • Distracting myself from stuff with other stuff. 

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