Do What You Can

Michael David Wilson doing what he can

Doing what I can—all slinged-up with my little partner-in-crime.

Do what you can with the time, resources, and restrictions you have.

Never demand anymore. Never beat yourself up for not being able to achieve more than is possible.

Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a call to accept your limitations as permanent.

Do strive to improve your situation.

Do try to move the goal posts.

Do free up more time.

Do lessen restrictions.

Do maximise resources.

Since mid-March, my life has undergone a series of changes. My wife and I moved back from Japan, had our first daughter (three months old today), and have had no fixed abode since our return to the UK.

The new is exciting, the new is scary, the new is tough, sometimes agonising, other times beautiful.

But everything is transient.

And change is coming.

Change is always coming.

Next month we move to a new place, to our place, and the goal posts move once more.

The month after there’ll be more changes. And the month after. And the month that follows.

So remember, do what you can with the time, resources, and restrictions you have.

Never demand anymore. Never beat yourself up for not being able to achieve more than is possible.

And remember, you can do anything you want but you can’t do everything you want.

The Creative Cycle

The Creative Cycle

I’m intimately familiar with the creative cycle and I’m sure you are, too. Though rarely do I experience all stages of the cycle in a single hour. But such was the case today as a new story idea surfaced.

Here’s how it went.

  1. Now this, this right here, is an idea. Oh yes, this is perfect. I love this idea.
  2. Oh for fuck’s sake, there’s no obvious conclusion, there are plot holes galore, this is barely even a half-baked concept let alone a story with legs. Another ‘idea’ for the bin. An idea that was never really an idea at all.
  3. Hang on a minute, I guess I could do this, that’ll make it sing all right …
  4. Maybe this is an idea. Maybe this isn’t total rubbish. But then maybe it is … I just don’t know.

And arriving at stage four is a comfortable place to be.

As my Creative Writing tutor George Ttoouli once said—and I oft quote—if you’re not sure whether a story is good or not that’s a great place to be. If you think it’s perfect you’re likely deluded (for what is perfection but an unattainable illusory concept). If you think it’s terrible you’re likely right. But if you’re not sure, if you’re uncomfortable … well, that’s the creative sweet spot.

Of course, George likely said it much better and more eloquently than I have.

So that’s the creative cycle, from self-loving to self-loathing and all shades in between.

When things get tough, persist.

Sooner or later the cycle will come around.

Sooner or later you’ll find the creative sweet spot.