Do you ever get really excited about something and then…not do it?

I'm not talking about when long projects drag on. I'm talking about when you get so excited about something, that you can't stop thinking about it while you wash the dishes or walk the dog or drink your first cup of coffee.

And then you sit down to work and…
You check your email.
You write that guest post.
You answer a few questions and schedule a few tweets.

But you're still! so excited! about the project!
But…you're not working on it?

That happens to me too.
In fact, it's happening to me right now.

I'm working on a Holiday Sanity Playbook (it's based on this annual, beloved class). And it's the most excited I've been about anything in a long time. It's going to come with stickers. And ribbon. In your mailbox (if you're into that.)

I'm not working on it right now.
I'm writing this, because I realized I was doing everything else, instead of working on it.

And I know you do the same thing, too.
You have a fabulous idea for a new line, a new business card, a new story.
But instead, you answer questions, pack orders, make another thing.

It's not that you're procrastinating work…it's that you're savoring the perfect thing.
You see, while my idea is still in my mind – it's perfect. It's lovely, exciting, delicious and…imaginary. Imaginary things are perfect because the real world hasn't spoiled them. My imaginary Prince Charming didn't leave his socks around the house. My imaginary home never smelled like onions and garlic after I made dinner (it smelled like chocolate chip cookies and chai lattes). And my imaginary Playbook is clever, hilarious, colorful and gives each reader exactly what they need.
But no one can enjoy my imaginary life, so I have to make it real. I marry the guy with the socks because he's hilarious and adorable. I rent the tiny house because it has great light. And I make the real life product because it will help real people, not just imaginary ones.

In the process of bringing it into the world, it'll lose some of its luster.
I won't find the right word.
I'll argue for far too long with Photoshop.
I'll discover I printed something upside down.

But it will exist. And a real chocolate chip cookie tastes far better than an imaginary one.
Just acknowledging this: that I love it so much I want it to perfect helps. Just noticing that I am putting it off because I love it so much helps.
In fact, I think I'm ready to work on it!

What are you imagining today? What tasty thing wants you to whip it up and put it in the (metaphorical) oven.
Why haven't you? What are you afraid of getting not-quite-right?

10 Comments on Making the imaginary real

  1. Vanessa
    October 23, 2012 at 4:07 pm (12 years ago)

    What always keeps me back is a fear of success more than failure. I feel like if I make my “thing” someone is going to ask me just who the hey do I think I am for making stuff? Or that since I’m not someone super famous or awesome like so and so, I really have no place to even consider doing something similar. It’s a horrible voice that results in me letting opportunity slip by. 

    What’s been working for me recently is reminding myself that everyone started where I am right now. A newbie who has a great idea who was probably thinking the same thing.

  2. Laura Lynch Yona
    October 23, 2012 at 4:13 pm (12 years ago)

    Well, now I want to be making chocolate chip cookies. 🙂 Seriously, though, I have about 5 blog posts that need to be written/sorted/photoed/posted that I really should stop procrastinating. Thanks for the noodge!

  3. Brooke snow
    October 23, 2012 at 6:05 pm (12 years ago)

    I love this 🙂  I’m doing it right now too. I had never considered that I put it off because its perfect in my mind and hasn’t been spoiled by the real world 🙂  Good to know so I can overcome!

  4. Kylie
    October 24, 2012 at 10:41 am (12 years ago)

    Yes! Right now I’m getting to the actual implementation stages of a new thing that’s actually pretty well underway. And oh good gracious is it scary to be here, actually delivering it to the world. But I love the way you’re reminding us that stuff’s better when it actually gets to be real. Even if it’s not perfect. Especially because it’s not perfect, perhaps.

  5. Tara Swiger
    October 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm (12 years ago)

    Vanessa, I know what you mean! But the truth is – when you put your thing out, people are happy for it! People suddenly start seeing you as a person who makes X. It’s kinda magical, especially if you’ve been putting it off for a long time.

  6. Tara Swiger
    October 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm (12 years ago)

    You’re welcome! And when you do post ’em, make a batch of cookies to celebrate!

  7. Tara Swiger
    October 24, 2012 at 1:36 pm (12 years ago)

    I’m so glad it was helpful!
    The thing is: I’m not even a perfectionist. So I *know* I won’t keep tweaking and tweaking something…if only I’ll start it!

  8. Tara Swiger
    October 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm (12 years ago)

    Yes! Yes yes yes! Real stuff is so much tastier than imaginary stuff…if we let go of our expectations and embrace the Real. It’s beautiful and it’s flawed and it’s OURS. And *especially* if your thing helps other people: it’s a zillion times better to have it existing than in your head!