Personal projects. Those projects that we say we would do if only we had the time. The ones that we dare to dream of and rarely make a reality. The ones that we tell others about. Stories to make ourselves sound more interesting. More involved. More legitimate. We swallow that lump in our throats when we speak about them aloud. Because once they are voiced, once our words are carried out into the world, who knows where they will land.
In Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic, she writes of a poet who described her method of working. That at any given moment of the day or night, inspiration would strike and if she did not immediately get the words down on with pen and paper right then and there, they would be gone. Moving on to another person to receive. She wrote of a time when this woman was out in a field when inspiration struck and she sprinted, ran faster than ever before, to the house to inscribe what the words were. She describde pulling them backwards, the words to this poem. She caught that poem by the tail and slowly reeled it in, word for word in reverse order. What a powerful image.
Personal projects. Like being self-employed, they’re difficult. You are the boss. You need to set your own rules and schedules and deadlines and expectations. You’re in charge. Everything is on your shoulder. The Project may seem so cumbersome and overwhelming but what you have to remember, is that it is a creation of you. That at one point you wanted to create this thing and I can promise you that that want, that will, is still there. This thing that lives in your heart. This project, whatever it may be, the world needs. Because you are a unique individual in this vast world and no one sees out exactly like you. No one feels exactly like you.
I am on the cusp of a Personal Project. One that I will share once it is swimming along more smoothly. It has been months, likely a lifetime, of pondering. Months of slow starts and now there is no looking back. I have told a few people, my vision is out there. I cannot disappoint them, nor myself now. I have deadlines that sit in the back of my head, poking and probing, when I am sitting on the couch doing nothing but watching Netflix. They are there when I am in the midst of doing something I would really rather not do. They are there as I sit in a cafe typing this piece instead of working on what I really set out to accomplish this morning. Personal projects. A battle of the heart and mind and the rest of your reality of a life.