Strike While the Iron is Hot

hand logo for word

It’s been in my head for quite some time to write a post with this title. Since I now have time to work on it, I am wondering just what it was I was wanted to say. Looks like I Waited Until the Iron Got Cold. Ha! Serves me right for not taking my own advice. Oh well, failure is just as illustrative as success. I shall carry on.

Okay, now that I have pondered it a bit, I can see that a lot of my ideas start with a word or phrase, something meaningful I can riff on. For example, a few years ago I was walking around an abandoned home in the desert of 29 Palms ruminating about how everything eventually goes out of existence when I thought, I should make a video called Extinct. Since I had a video camera with me, I filmed for about an hour, edited soon thereafter and now I have a short film on vimeo and youtube called Extinct.

As I look at my creative output, I can see that the things I have accomplished are the things I acted on very quickly after having the idea. Thinking about projects is never a good omen for me. Leaping before looking works best creatively.

I am wondering what allows me to act impulsively, in a creative sense, and what throws up a road block.

Time is number one. I have to have at least a little of it. It’s hard to make that first move when work needs to come first. But if I have already made that first move, I can often fit the second, third, and fourth moves into the little crannies of space that open up throughout the day. I love when that happens. So why doesn’t it happen more? Because most of the heavy lifting does need time. Not a smidge or dab but a swath, some substantial amount to maneuver in. Magic doesn’t happen while multitasking.

Next is definition. To do something I have to know what I am doing. To create a video I need to shoot footage, edit footage, edit some more then post it. I’ve done it enough times to know what the process is and to keep going. But if the parameters change, indecision can paralyze the whole project. I think this is where I get stuck the most. For instance, I have finished a video, a piece I worked on for years and now it sits in a password protected vimeo site doing nothing. What’s the point of that? I want to share it but I told some people I was going to submit it to festivals first. So I have to figure out which festivals and how much money I want to spend applying, blah, blah, blah. Why do I have to submit it to festivals anyway? I really don’t know. Because it means I am serious? Am I serious? Are festivals serious?  Which festivals are serious? Trying to answer that question leads me to asking what the purpose is, an existential quagmire that never leads to anything except a bad mood. I guess to know what I am doing it helps to have a handy why. And when I can’t find one, I stop moving forward.

That leads to the third obstacle, fear. Fear is imagining a bad outcome. I have a giant project that I got very hopped up about and did a ton of work on and then just up and quit. I didn’t even do myself the curtsey of telling myself I quit. But what else do you call it when you have done nothing in 2 years? In this case I did strike while the iron was hot. I struck a lot. But I didn’t Finish Before it Turns to Rust.

However, and this is a BIG HOWEVER, as in the whole point of the title, because I at least started that project, I could, if I wanted to, pick it back up. Once something comes into existence, however neglected and ill tended, it can be brought back to health and possibly grow to maturity. But if it never even exists, well, it never even exists. It won’t even get to go extinct. I did myself the service of starting a blog post with this title 8 months ago. There wasn’t much there but there was something. There were this sentence:

After years of evidence showing me which ideas went from attraction to intercourse to baby and which ones miscarried and which one never even kissed, I can conclude that for myself, if I don’t get to it right away, I am not going to get to it at all.

The password protected video I mentioned above has now been submitted to several festivals. In fact I interrupted the writing of this to finish that task as it was causing me too much cognitive dissonance not too – thank you blogging.

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