Feeling alone and facing demons, yay summer!
I don’t really like doing things alone. I enjoy working by myself, sure, but I prefer collaborating over not. The more I write, the more this desire for working with others becomes deeper: I crave an editor who will give me sincere, real feedback. But really, it’s not just in writing where I long to throw ideas around and share resources and skills.
I’ve been a little quiet about this, but—I’ve been in a project-launching bootcamp this summer through Orbital. I applied to the bootcamp with Womanzine, the zine I’ve run for seven or so years now (whoa). So, I brought a long-running project into a space intended to help take ideas from ZERO to one. I thought I’d be fine, though; that I could launch some new part of Womanzine that would make it sustainable for the first time (and, in fact, I am doing that to some degree).
The thing is, I haven’t found the support or kindred minds at Orbital that I needed. It took me eight weeks and as many frustrating advisor meetings to realize that. I mean, I knew it all along; I just didn’t understand how acute the need was until I heard lots of (excellent) random ideas from others. Lots of walking in circles in the dirt, looking up at the cliff of enlightenment and achievement; why couldn’t anyone help me find the next toe hold for this climb? LAME analogy but like, wanted to give some kind of visualization.
Out of this struggle, I have decided to try to find some minds like mine, some peers. So, side note: do you know anyone who is interested/working in experimental, digital publishing platforms, and would want to meet other, similar folks?
But finding peers isn’t the only struggle I’ve encountered at Orbital. More than work on a project, I’ve found that I’ve had to work on myself. It sucks, it’s painful. By confronting challenges in Orbital (launching something each week, talking at length to advisors each week, tracking incremental progress—not to mention the assignments), I’ve had to face some of my deepest demons (yes, really): a sense of failure that employs procrastination to trip me up every other step. The emotional well is deep and wide; this summer’s challenges are the tap. I’ve cried a lot.
What I’ve come to understand is that these things—Orbital, Womanzine, and this new community of like minds I’m trying to start—are all merely vehicles for personal exploration and growth. Ugh. In some ways, I wish it were different; that I were making more visible progress on these projects in some way. But really, I know that I am able to execute on these projects (ICYMI, I am a very capable human). It’s the parts of myself that prevent me from doing what I know I can do: those are the things I continue (yes, this is obviously not the first time I’ve confronted them) to learn about and to work through.
Because of all that, I have set two goals for the rest of my time in the bootcamp: 1. to share my process and be more public with myself and 2. to be more comfortable in draft mode (which specifically confronts the procrastination piece). These are difficult, and I pretty regularly feel like I’m failing at them, but still, I am trying to run toward—not away from—them.
This post itself achieves both of those goals. I would love your feedback on any/all of this. Would especially love to hear your procrastination stories, as I would eventually like to put together a larger piece on that.
(gawd, isn’t summer always harder and more lonely than we expect??)