The Start of Work

You know what’s hard? Starting to work on a big project (or, in my case, a large part of a huge project). It’s just disorienting. It feels like starting over. In some ways it feels like being a senior in high school, king of the class, and then going to college and being demoted to freshman. It really is like starting over again. All of the sudden you’re in unfamiliar territory and you’re not sure what to do, where to go, or even who you are. You question yourself. Why did I come here? Why did I even agree to this? Did this really make sense a couple of months ago? All of this, though, wares off eventually. Eventually you find a renewed sense of purpose and you find it (seemingly) just in time.

I’ve been feeling this way all week. Moving is damaging to one’s sense of calm. While it affords me the opportunity to set up my own office (on an almost non-existent budget), it also means that there are little nagging things going on: internet mishaps with the ISP, a failing cd/dvd drive, a messy house, not knowing where that book I need is. While all of these things are damaging to my sense of inward calm (something I think is quite wonderful to have while working), I also know that this stage is temporary. Knowing that, though, does not take away that nagging feeling that I’m not yet ready to begin. What to do?

It turns out that the thing to do is just to start writing. I accept the fact that I can’t find that book, that there are unopened boxes littering the floor, and that there are unopened e-mails awaiting reply on the other side of my broken connection. I write. Over the years I’ve found that writing helps me clarify my own understanding of things. Writing clarifies my own ideas. Writing is a distillation process where I improve the core idea every single time I engage in the activity. If you’re stuck, start writing. You’ll find the book (or whatever else you feel is missing) in good time.

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