“You want to know how I did it? This is how I did it… I never saved anything for the swim back.”
– Vincent Freeman, Gattaca
That’s a powerful moment in the movie, Gattaca. One could argue the most powerful.
I apologize for the above spoiler (in my defense, it is over 23 years old), but if you haven’t seen this movie, I highly recommend it. It’s about how one man beats the odds where society had set him up for failure.
Giving context to the quote above, Vincent is the weaker of two brothers. Growing up, the boys would swim straight out into the ocean. The game is simple: the one who turns back first loses. But keep in mind, every stroke made during the game is a stroke that will have to be made for the trip back to shore. Vincent always lost, until one day he didn’t. His brother could never figure out how.
“I never saved anything for the swim back.”
I’m gonna be honest. I built this website because I want to be an author, and (successful) authors have webpages. Something else they have is a mailing list. Setting it up was the easy part. OMG, I even have subscribers! Whoa! It is a seriously awesome feeling when someone signs up for your mailing list. Now, for my “Oh, s***!” moment: What am I supposed to mail out?
Like Vincent in competing with his brother, I didn’t hold back. I didn’t “save” anything for the return trip—or in my case, the mailer. I’m not sorry because I think everything on my site needs to be there, but it does leave me with a bit of a dilemma…and a LOT of anxiety.
The perfectionist in me is screaming that I have to have content ready to send now. The voice of reason is saying, “Wait, what’s the rush? Take your time, and do it right.” Too many times, my voice of reason gets trampled by fear and anxiety. We live in a fast-paced world; things need to happen now, now, now!
The temptation to email a published blogpost or two is great, but I won’t do it. Those on my list signed up through my website and likely already saw my posts. Why should I waste their time on a rerun? For those wondering why I set up a mailing list, I pose the question: Is it better to have content but no one to send it to or have a mailing list but nothing to send? I argue the latter because ideas will come eventually, and when they do, you want to be able to share them.
My anxiety has a loud voice, and it is many things but patient is not one of them. It cares more about quantity than quality. It’s enough to send me into a panic attack. It won’t win. I won’t let it. My first priority is a quality blog. The mailer will be second—and not a rerun (it’s worth more than that). Like Vincent, who kept his eyes forward and didn’t save anything for the swim back, I’m going to stay calm, take my time, and tell myself, “It’s okay, you’re not gonna drown.”
‘Til next time!