I’ve been thinking a lot this week about moving goalposts. How the human brain has this awful tendency these days to do this over and over and over in life, if we aren’t careful and aware. I feel it in writing often, but it’s also something I see elsewhere in life—you get the job you want, but then you want something more—more money, more prestige, more more more more more. The mores can fucking eat you alive if you let them. If you live your life in them, they will tell you that NOTHING you do is ever good enough.
It’s funny. A year ago, I had just gotten signed with my agent after spending 3 months working on an extensive R&R on my book. I was SO proud of myself. I was excited to go on submission, excited that I had accomplished so much already.
And then, as soon as we did go on submission, my brain was like this: IF YOU DONT SELL YOUR BOOK YOU ARE A FAILURE. No longer was it great that I got an agent, that I had accomplished this THING that I’d worked for for so long.
It was about the next thing.
And then we sold my book.
And now it’s about the next thing again. The unknowns. The “what’s going to happen in marketing & PR?” The “look at this other book, look at what IT is getting that mine isn’t - why didnt you write THAT BOOK, Liz?!!!?” (Why didn’t I write that book. Why didn’t I time this better. Why didn’t I do more more more more more MORE)
Keep moving goalposts and you’ll suddenly be so far down the line that you won’t even be able to see where you started. Won’t be able to see how much you’ve already accomplished. Won’t be able to celebrate anything as it happens, because your brain is already gone.
Remember when you finished writing your first book? Or even the first chapter of your first book? Remember that FEELING—the amazement that you did this thing. You wrote something. You created something out of nothing. You did that.
And you did this - whatever it is. You TRIED. That’s more than a lot of people can say. You went for your dream, and you TRIED, god dammit. And that is something to celebrate, no matter where in your journey you are. Celebrate what you’ve done; celebrate what is right in front of you.
Because the mores will eat you alive.