No Lights. No Camera. Just Action.

Nike, the Greek Goddess of Victory, because, well, I think the “other” Nike logo is trademarked.

“Whatever it is, figuring it out isn’t enough. Once you know something that might help, you have to do it.” — Doing It by Patricia C. Wrede

You can read page-long descriptions about giant sequoia trees, but until you stand beneath one, you can’t truly feel how small you are.

You can hear about your friend’s dreadful first date, but until you knock a scalding hot latte onto someone else’s crotch, you can’t truly feel a pit develop in your stomach.

In other words, there is a mile of difference between knowing something and doing something.

Seems like an obvious thought, but if you’re like me, you tend to think a lot about stuff and read a lot about stuff…and it makes you feel somewhat accomplished. But to take action? Whoa, slow down their pardner. Let’s think about it some more.

Nope.

There comes a time when action is the only option for moving forward.

All this thinking is overrated as a motivational force. Doing, on the other hand, is underrated. Doing is the most underrated thing there ever was. – Steve Chandler, Time Warrior

Thinking about a weakened Persian polity wasn’t going to place the Achaemenid Empire in Alexander the Great’s hands.

Understanding how electrons and magnetism work wasn’t going to force Elon Musk to crank out shiny Tesla Model S after shiny Tesla Model S.

And understanding that I need to work on some aspects of writing isn’t going to make a backlog of published work magically appear.

As I look back in slight horror over my impromptu decision to write a short story a week, I recognize a pattern. My subconscious mind is good at self-correction. I can try to fool myself all I want, but a part of me can sniff fraud from a mile away. While I may be writing every day, it’s tantamount to going through the motions. And though I may over-correct, it’s better than the alternative!

Patricia C. Wrede’s blog piece on the need for action popped in my RSS reader at the right time and helped me formulate a simple plan of attack:

  1. Identify a weakness.
  2. Identify the opposite of that weakness (i.e. the strength I hope to achieve).
  3. In what practical way can I exercise and overcome that weakness?

So I ran through this myself:

  1. Identify a weakness.
    1. Unable to finish my work consistently.
  2. Identify the opposite of that weakness (i.e. the strength I hope to achieve).
    1. Finish all of my work.
  3. In what practical way can I exercise and overcome that weakness?
    1. Give myself a hard deadline to finish one short story a week, for the next 52 weeks.

Of course, in the trenches, things are never as clear cut as 1-2-3, but it’s a starting point. Some clay to work with.

And as I’m having trouble finishing this post, I’m reminded of why I need to do this. 🙂

-Phillip

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