I have a confession. It’s kinda my secret shame.

I suck.

Yup, there you have it. I suck. Well, in the interest of transparency, I suppose I should clarify a bit. I don’t suck at everything. In fact, I excel at some stuff. Like clever comebacks (Nuh-uh, you suck…see?). And Jenga. I rock at Jenga.

I suck at some things. For the purposes of this here blog post, I only want to talk about one thing, though.

I suck at making time for my creative projects. There. I said it. It’s out in the open and there’s no taking it back. I suck at getting non-paying writing projects done. Or revised. Or even started. I write almost every day, but for paying clients. Sometimes that takes all day. Other times, it does not, and I have the chance to revise my novel, or start one of about 27 other story ideas bouncing around my head like a bunch of kids just off their Ritalin, crashing and bumping into each other like free-falling onto a trampoline.

But I don’t. Can you feel me? I just don’t. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s what Steven Pressfield calls Resistance. Maybe it’s fear of failure. Or fear or success. But really, does it matter?

I want to change that. It takes work. I could get a “real” job and be miserable. But that sounds like even more work. I guess, ultimately, I’m a lazy artist. But an artist nonetheless…

Do you suck, too?

Are you sick of sucking? And is “sick of sucking” tweet-worthy? I dunno. If not a tweet, maybe a bumper sticker, although I seriously question their culture relevance anymore. A t-shirt?

How about the title of this post? That might work.

Working title: Sick of Sucking

Sub-header: So I Am Going to Stop

Done. Presto. Problem and solution identified. We can all move on now and continue our lives. Only, of course, if the solution to sucking was to simply “stop”, I’d be a wealthy individual…assuming one could find a way to monetize not sucking. God…I even suck at sucking. And not sucking.

So here’s my plan. I need to block time for my creative projects, but I evidently need outside accountability to do so. Wanting to do it is not enough. Needing to do it is not enough. I need deadlines. I need outsiders to peek behind the curtain and keep me honest. So I’m going to update and report. I’m going to check-in with you, dear reader(s), and let you know exactly what I’m doing to stop sucking. To get the ideas, characters, and voices out of my head and on to the page. Some of them should probably never be allowed to see the light of day, but gosh darn it, I’m a-gonna do it anyway.

My proposal is thus: I’m going to devote the next 60 days to my creative self. I am going to reduce my television consumption (but damn it, I just got into Californication), and focus on revising the unruly novel-child I birthed over a year ago. Right now, it’s about 55,000 words, some of which work, and some of which don’t. I figure a good third of the book will be excised, cut out and flung to the far corner of the room like a bloated appendix. I have some new ideas I want to include, and the ending needs to be completely gutted. And this is good. I’m excited about it. Like, grocery-shopping excited (NOTE – I love grocery shopping).

We all talk about wanting more time for our creative endeavours, whatever they are. Writing, painting, sculpting, composing, gardening, crafting, scrapbooking, knitting, Greco-Roman wrestling, Civil War re-enactments, cosplay, sketching, drawing, cooking, puppetry, woodworking, barn raising, shovelling, bed racing, snowshoe artistry, or whatever.

How about taking the 60-day challenge with me? I’m going to keep meticulous records of how much time I devote to this, what I did with that time, and what I’m learning about myself as an artist. I adored NaNoWriMo for this very reason – it forced me to stop the bullshit excuses and made me accountable for my creative actions. I had 30 days to write a novel. And when I finished with 15 minutes to spare, it was exhilarating and 50 shades of kick-ass.

I want that again.

I’ll be posting a weekly update here on my blog. I encourage you to participate and post your own updates in the comments each week. Whatever your project. However much time you can devote to it.

Want to stop sucking? Then stop. Join me, won’t you? 60 days start now. Let the non-suckage commence…


Bryan Johnston

Former high school English lit & drama teacher. Current writer, stand-up comedian, & improv performer. A big switch? You betcha.

International expat for 12+ years with stops in Beijing, Dubai, Shanghai, & Guangzhou. Dad to a university sophomore, an eleven-month old charmer, & the two best doggos. Lover of funny things & people. Oh, and craft beer.

  • I love it Bryan. I’ve been contemplating why I’m having such a hard time sticking to my meditation and qi gong practice and yes, I’m always behind on writing for my blog. I’ve also been reading about time (or our lack of it) and how the internet is changing our brains. It’s all strangely interrelated and I plan to write about it. Check out the blog I started with a friend and I’d love to hear what you think. We just launched it last week. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

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