Do the Work

How do you get a job done? You do the work, right? It sounds so simple, but when you’re in business for yourself, it can be devilish hard. Here’s why.

When I worked as a writer in an office, I’d get assignments from bosses. It was not uncommon for me to get an assignment from one boss, then have another boss contradict that assignment in favor of something completely different. What should I do? At first, in the interest of efficiency, I’d talk to both bosses individually and try to reconcile the two assignments. This seemed like a no brainer, but it rarely if ever worked. Eventually, I learned to do both assignments and accept that I was wasting my time on one of them. Here’s an example: I wrote a big chunk of annual report copy for the president. A vice president made a bunch of changes that I knew the president wouldn’t want. There was nothing to do but make the changes. Fortunately, I kept the original in tact, and that’s the one that went in the final publication. How does that relate to writing for my own business?

I am both president and vice president of this ship, for good or for ill. Sometimes, president me will set the day’s agenda as write 3,000 words on the novel, but vice president me will chime in with how doing some freelance work will lead to quicker cash. Hmm, vice president me has a point. Then janitor me (yes, I do it all here) will announce that the toilet is clogged and maybe some attention to admin tasks is in order. Oh, I should probably get right on that. The result is that I spend an entire day drinking too much coffee (president, VP, and janitor all love coffee), wringing my hands, and getting exactly no work done.

When I worked in an office job, this kind of second guessing and navel gazing wasn’t an option. Instead, I’d just put my head down and do the work. Any work. Whatever work.

Of course, all of this fretting stems from one thing — fear. Fear, self doubt, lack of confidence — they’re all alter egos of the same super villain. I only have one tool in my utility belt to defeat these masterminds of evil. That tool is the work. Why yes, I have recently watched The Lego Movie. I’m Batman.

When in doubt, do the work. Don’t analyze it, don’t question it, just DO THE WORK! So that’s what I do.

Most days.

Other days, my worry pipes burst and I nearly drown in a shitstorm while janitor me kicks back with a cup of coffee and a jar of Nutella and says she told me so.

So what about you? How do you overcome the diabolical forces of self defeatism?

Posted in Writing
2 comments on “Do the Work
  1. The work . . . wait! Nutella!! *comes back with a large spoon* There is no stinking work if there is Nutella!

  2. Karen, so true. So true. Nutella is the new breakfast of champions.

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