I think I speak for about 95% of my generation when I say: “There’s so much stuff I want to do, but I just can’t bring myself to start doing it.” We live in an age dominated by social media and marketing, and it’s done great things for bands, brands, campaigns, events and everything in between. But what about the rest of us? The people on the outside looking in; the consumers; the majority group getting saturated with new things to buy, stuff to do, and flashy lifestyles to emulate. Social media can be an incredible thing, but it can also create the urge for instant online gratification… and worst of all, an endless muse for procrastination.
At the time of writing this, the clock has just ticked 3PM on a Sunday afternoon. I’ve been up since 9am. I was supposed to start writing and get sh*t done at 8am. What have I done? Dithered. Daydreamed. Scrolled Facebook. Called my brother. I even tidied the house a little. Not because I didn’t want to start writing, but because taking the first step seemed so daunting. Instead, it was so much easier to see what cool videos were swirling around in the endless ‘news’-feed that is Facebook.
And that’s the sad part. I don’t trust myself to get up at 8am on a Sunday morning and get sh*t done. I need other motivating factors working in my favour. At least to begin with, whether that’s supportive friends and family… the fear of another day wasted… or the investment of my own money down the drain. I recently bought my first mic and sound card to do Voiceover stuff. I’d better f*cking use it!
But let’s go back to the supportive friends part. Because this is key. If you’ve got something on your mind that’s creative and fun, but also challenging and daunting, get your friends and family involved – even if it’s just to give you some feedback on your work or a kick up the arse when you’re procrastinating on Facebook again. It works because as much as you can lie to yourself and convince yourself you haven’t had time, your friends will call bullshit, and help you look for pockets of time where you could and should be pushing yourself to do something you’ll enjoy and be proud of.
But that’s just the beginning. Why not get your friends involved with the project, or get them doing it with you? It could be a writing exercise… an experiment… a blog like this… a photo album… a fund-raiser… a music or theatre production… anything at all – the more people you get involved, the easier it is to motivate each other, set goals, make regular progress checks, and create one-off or regular collaborative content together.
I’m lucky to have lived with, studied with, and worked with some talented and inspiring people, and even if you don’t immediately relate to that, you’ll find that upon asking, your friends and family will have talents, passions, experiences and goals of their own that you can help be a part of. Making a video? Invite your musician friend to write some music for it. Starting a blog? Invite your photographer friend to take some pictures to accompany the words. Is your band recording an EP? Invite your graphic design friend to create the artwork. There’s so many ways to encourage and inspire each other to achieve more. And above all, get off Facebook… and get away from the same old pitfalls and excuses.
Obviously, it’s easier said than done. But it all starts with picking up the phone, texting a friend you haven’t seen in a while, and inviting them for a coffee and a chat. That was how the graphic novel I’m working on started out – as a conversation about an idea, over a cheap coffee and burger in a Hazel Grove Wetherspoons. It’s also a great way to see that old Uni pal you haven’t spoken to in six months. We’re all adults – at least, we’re pretending to be – and life is busy, but if you can start kicking the bad habits, start getting up an hour early on a Sunday, and start embracing the things you wanted to try as a kid or a teenager, 2019 could be a fantastic start to a new project or even a new career.
At the time of signing off, it’s 18:43PM. Yes, I took a break. Yes, I scrolled Facebook for a bit. What can I say? There was a cute cat video I needed to watch. I’m a procrastinator too, y’know. But my first step was writing this blog. What’s your first step?