What can happen in 30 minutes? Turns out, a lot of things. A pizza can be delivered. A commute can be completed. A sitcom can be ingested. A meal with Rachael Ray can magically come together. Some highly-touted, super efficient workout can be finished. And a brilliant blog post can appear like a glittering Pegasus from the sky. Or that’s at least what I’m hoping will happen in the next 30 minutes. It’s helpful for me to think of it like this. Like if a whole pizza can be ordered, made and delivered in 30 minutes, surely I can vomit out some thoughts on a page, no? Yet it’s funny how paralyzing just the mere thought of doing something, hell, anything, can be for me. Like, “Wash those three plates AND put them in the dishwasher? What is this? Some kind of internment camp?” The sheer force of my Jedi-strength complacency can really make the idea of doing things really sound impossible.
But 30 puny little minutes? I can do that. And maybe that’s the secret to stuff and by ‘stuff’ I mean success. I don’t know why just writing that word, success, makes me squirm a little but yes, success. And not necessarily in a I’m totally buff and make 7 figures a year kind of way (which I’d be totally down for if I could achieve those things by eating brownies and watching Netflix) but in a I’m satisfied and happy with my life kind of way. On some cellular level, I know that this is true. I wrote two full length plays both of which enjoyed happy, packed runs and I’ve also written dozens of short plays, a slew of articles, a spattering of short stories and some other stuff. And none of it has happened in a single sitting. Thank god. Can you imagine? “Honey, I’m gonna go sit down and write a script. See you in four days.” No, all of it has been quilted together minute by minute, a page at a time and over the course of several days. I do, however, do better with deadlines, as the additional terror tends to bring out the best in me but even then I know that the bulk of the work comes together in itty, bitty chunks. The toughest part of anything that looks like work, for me, has to be conquered with my attitude before I get started. If I don’t immediately reject the thought of doing something, anything, progress might just be possible.
I recently shared with my sponsor that I was afraid of success. He pointed out to me that I was in a happy successful relationship, that I had successfully stayed sober for the last 7 years and that I had a roof over my head and jobs which regularly paid me. He was gently trying to pound into my head that I was, in fact, already successful. Moreover, all of this success had happened in little increments. And so, why couldn’t even more success happen in the same way? There’s no reason and as usual the only getting the way was me and my old nemesis fear.
All this brings me to the title of this post which also happens to be a Sondheim song which Madonna sings in Dick Tracy (it all always leads back to Madonna. Duh.) But yeah, what can I lose? So I lose 30 minutes writing a post that maybe no one will read? Big deal. Or I try something and it doesn’t work out? Okay. Or I submit pieces and people say, “Sorry. Not interested.” Fine. But I at least did it. If I can shut fear up and just keep moving, even for 30 minutes, who knows what can happen? This is all on my mind today because I’m toying with pitching new ideas and putting myself out there creatively in different frightening ways. I guess it’s scary but no scarier than quitting drinking or leaving a relationship or standing up for myself in professional situations– and I’ve done all of those things already. So what can you lose? 30 minutes later, I still can’t come up with anything and that might just be my answer.