Almost two weeks back home now and I’ve been catching up on my reading lists little by little. By now, I’ve read at least 2,500 pages between about 5 books, added far too many quotes to my quote wall, and found one book that I am discovering so much in that I just had to share it with you all.
In 1999, Stephen King wrote a book called On Writing, a memoir on the craft of writing itself. Though I like it for its specificity to what I want to do for the rest of my life, I have found that a lot of it applies to anything else in this world too. There are a few quotes I could pull from it that really stand out to me, but there is one that I think I like just a little more than the others— you’ll see why in a second.
Keep in mind that mind that we live in a world where the work never stops, people are always moving, multitasking (no, not orange) is the new black, and the sky isn’t quite the limit anymore. The limit seems to be wherever we decide to put it; we’re the only one’s who have that power when it comes to our own work. Take my writing for example, I’m only as good as I put in the work to be— if I don’t have time to read then I will never have time to write. That’s the limit. For other people, it could be a mental block, holding themselves back when they could do more and be more if that was something they truly wanted. It’s not always about the time, but the work we put in towards whatever goal we are trying to reach.
Like Stephen King said, “Sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.”
Ever felt like that?
I know we’ve all been there, almost like trying to make yourself go to the gym but all you can seem to do take a short walk on your lunch break instead. Or every time you try to create something new and better than the last thing you did, it turns out to be so much less than you had hoped it would be…
It’s called trying. The key phrase in King’s quote is that still, you’re doing good work.
Have you ever taken a video and then watched it, only to cringe at the sound of your own voice in the background? I know I really don’t like hearing myself on video, most people don’t. But if you ask anyone else if it sounds as annoying as you think, they’ll probably say no. It’s all in your head.
Now take this idea and extend it to the work you do or the effort you put into different aspects of your life— just because it doesn’t quite turn out the way you want it to or falls short of your expectation doesn’t mean it isn’t just as important as all of your successes., even if you can’t see that. The big idea behind it all is perseverance, I don’t know where any of us would be without it.
I am nineteen years old, the last time I can still claim the title of teenager, and quite possibly the final year I can keep my grip on the chunk of adolescence I know I’m going to lose hold of within the next year. My friends are all growing up, getting engaged, moving away, and pursuing a future for themselves. My parents and my friends parents are all gearing up to finish what they started with us, sending the last of us to college, taking vacations without us, and finding their way to the hopeful retirement that seems to keep upping the age every year.
Yet it seems that no matter where we’re at in this moment or where we’re headed in the near future, we’re probably going to hit a few roadblocks and end up “shoveling shit” in the process. That doesn’t mean we should quit, and that definitely doesn’t mean we’re not good at what we do. I think it just means we’re human. And as humans, whether we know it or not, we will always find our way back to doing good work when we’re ready to.