Overthinking It

Scribbly scribble

Oh boy, I am just not satisfied by the bare minimum. It feels like a really odd thing to say, but doing less is something I something I need to get better at. I put together this new website over the last month, and the whole time I feel like been fighting against myself! I keep trying to add on all this structure and overwrought complexity onto this thing, when all I really want—the reason I started over in the first place—was that I wanted to give myself an excuse to journal again.

I’ve done this before! And it’s turned out poorly! As soon as the “fun” part of building the site is done, I totally lose interest in it. That’s why I’m always blogging in these 2 week stretches after I redo my site.

There’s two options, I guess. The first one is to just build empty websites for myself, and keep tweaking them and fiddling with them but not really accomplishing anything of lasting value (because I’ll fiddle it away eventually). The alternative it to actually focus on improving my habits with the hope that I’ll benefit from those changes in the long run.

It’s my grasshopper brain v.s. my ant brain. I’m always rooting for my inner ant, but my inner grasshopper is always winning.

Fortunately, having gone through this process a few times and come out the other end of it kinda dissatisfied with myself, I think I at least understand my impulses a little better and, in turn, can deploy some strategies to avoid falling prey to them again. I think about them like personal anti-patterns. Here’s the two I’m facing right now:

The first one is over-structuring from the get-go. Premature optimization is a bad habit I’ve been learning how to fight against for years (hopefully I’ll write more about that!). If I submit to that anti-pattern, I’ll end up spending all my time coming up with a really baroque data structure but without any data to fill it. I mean, I had to just literally stop myself from putting a navigation on my website, even though I have nothing to navigate to! LAME!! I realized my time was better spent scolding myself for doing this in my journal, which solves the problem of not writing more, at least.

The second one is caring about the quality of what I’m doing here. THAT’S NOT THE POINT DUMMY. The point is to make a space for practice so that I can eventually write the things I want to. I get so self-possessed and self-conscious that the things I’m writing are too meta (I literally can’t help myself from doing it right now), too boring, or too inelegant. I have to abandon this pretension and ego and just GO FOR IT. The only way I’m gonna get to that place is by putting in the hard work and letting go. That’s kinda scary, tho, but at least I’m gonna try to not impose too much pressure on myself.

This whole thing reminds me of something I heard about starting a new note- or sketch-book, feeling all anxious and worked up about making it the perfect journal, and scribbling over the first page to relieve that anxiety. There’s nothing you can do that can be worse than the scribble. Pressure’s off.

I’m trying my best to not over think it.