Discover more from Learn By Doing
Just do the thing™
There's something to be said for 'just do the thing'. It's generally not easy and sometimes it may seem outright impossible, especially on low energy days. That threshold is very deceptive, a figment of our clever mind. It's interesting how many things your brain tries to 'save' you from, and the lengths it'll go to to make you avoid things.
The other day I started uploading the last videos of my Dreamfall Chapters Let’s Play on YouTube.
I recorded those back in June 2016, found out that my video and audio were out of sync and broke down in tears trying to edit the whole thing. So I just put it away along with a lot of other things during that time.
In the years since I have occasionally tried to start the editing process but never quite got there because my brain kept finding obstacles; 'I don't have time to do this now', 'I'm too tired', 'I should finish another project first', you get the gist.
Then sometime in 2021 I suddenly managed to get past all of my brain's excuses, sat down, started editing and I almost finished it. Almost.
My brain went into lockdown when it came to the last couple of edits and rendering it out; 'should I just put it out in two big chunks or do I keep my 30-ish min episodes?', 'it's going to take so long to render out'... Bullshit excuses, all of them. But my brain saw a potential threat of failure and blew any and all teeny tiny perceived problems out of proportion.
So, this past Wednesday I finally sat down to just do it. Just get it done. And what do you know, just by starting I proved to my brain that every 'problem' it had come up with wasn’t, in fact, a problem. And what actual problems I did run into, I could just solve as they happened, no big deal. And now here I am, with the entirety of Dreamfall Chapters Book 5 edited, rendered and uploaded, scheduled to release a video every day over the weekend to close out this Let’s Play. The end of six years of agonising over footage and the end of a saga that I’ve been invested in for over two decades.
Who am I kidding, it’s not the end since I do want to replay the games again but that doesn’t sound quite as epic, does it?
Now, this whole thing of getting stuck before you even start, that mental threshold, is everywhere in life. From the smallest things like washing your one tea cup to the big, important things like paying bills or making phone calls and it’s a constant struggle to get out of your own head and just get to the doing part.
I struggle with these things in my day-to-day life as I tend to get stuck in my own head a lot. In addition I get easily distracted when I’m in this state, my brain latching on to anything and everything to avoid whatever it perceives as a threat.
I’ve been loving the resurgence of newsletters lately because they’re generally a much more “slow” media that I have to take my time with. Focus on. And I’ve found a few that makes me feel that spark of joy whenever I see them in my inbox, for example
This newsletter resurgence has brought back a lot of the deeper thought longform content that I have been sorely missing with the rise of social media this past decade or so.
I have also been absorbing a lot of podcasts, videos, books and newsletters on a lot of topics to do with mental health and just in general living a better life lately and I think I’ve found a concoction that has sparked something in my brain because I’m slowly starting to make changes again. I’ve been stuck for so long in such weird ways that it became my new normal and even though things happened around me I kind of just… Sat there, stuck in my own head and absorbing all the wrong inputs.
So I’m trying even harder to get outside of my own head and just do things. It’s still super hard and I still fail, like, a lot. But I try to give myself some patience, love and understanding and then gently kick myself to try again.
Which is why I’m here now, writing this.
As soon as I found out about Substack (thank you!) I wanted to give newsletters another go because the format was close enough to blogging that I figured I could maybe do that. I mean, I did have a Livejournal that a few people seemed to like back in the day. And then I got stuck in my head again. Stuck on the small details, “I don’t have a good name for it”, “what would I even write”, “what if I suck at it”, “what if people hate my writing”... You know, the whole spiel your brain gives you when it’s trying to protect you from the hurt of failing at something or being judged.
So, employing an amalgamation of things I’ve learned from all those podcasts and videos and books, here I am now. Doing the thing.
This may fail completely, maybe no one will read it, maybe people will hate it, maybe I’ll choke and not be able to write but you know what? It doesn’t actually matter. And that’s both sad, exhilarating, and freeing.
This is me, fighting to shed this heavy coat of people-pleasing, societal expectations and general bullshit so that I can return to my own authentic voice.
So if you’ve read this far, thank you, and I hope that I’ve piqued your interest enough that you may stick around. I still don’t know exactly what this newsletter/blog hybrid will end up being, but let’s learn by doing!
Come with me on the journey!
Psst, you can catch me streaming over at twitch.tv/jessephoenixart, I will be working on commissions and a few personal projects in the coming week!