It has been a while since I wrote at The Whole Works. Life came in the way — emdash was keeping me busy, I developed an unbearable vertigo and the world began spinning. By the time I got back to writing regularly, I had fallen out of the habit of ideating. I am here sitting in front of the computer unable to come up with anything to write about.
The problem — for me, at least — is not that I don’t have ideas now. It’s my catastrophising that I’ve run out of ideas forever. That the life of The Whole Works is done because I have nothing more to write about. While I was riling myself up about the possible failures of this entire endeavour, I remembered a trick I’ve always found useful: Going back to where it all started.
When I started The Whole Works, I had an idea about what I wanted to do. And I’d written it down in multiple notebooks and web pages. In fact, I’d also edited and added to it over the last six months. I went back to these notes, and it helped! I swear.
Sometimes, all we need is a reminder of what the fuck we were thinking when we started this. There is always a spark, a dream, something that we believed we can change in the world around us. That dream is critical to bringing us back on track when we feel derailed.
So, when you start something, write down your purpose. Not in a word or a sentence, but as elaborately as possible. As a favour to your future self. Things I’ve included in my journal entries:
Who am I serving? Who would find my work helpful?
What is missing in their current solution? What can I offer that they can’t just Google and get?
What do I want to talk about? What are the top three areas of focus? What can I talk about in out-of-focus?
What drives me to do this? How do I feel when I help?
How will the world change as a result of my work?
If it sounds naive and idealistic, cherish it. I wish for you to have that naive idealism about your project as long as you need it. 🙂