Sharing early work is not a distraction
In my early teens, I would imagine creating amazing things. A better search engine. The best backup tool ever made. The perfect journal.
When I sat down to create them, I wouldn’t know how to progress further than the first few steps. My projects directory was littered with abandoned
main.py files from bursts of inspiration.
As I repeated this pattern of false starts, I became self-conscious about it. Maybe I wasn’t good enough to finish my projects. Not capable enough. I know many share these fears.
I noticed that the biggest bursts of energy came when I shared creations with other people. Sometimes, just telling someone about an incomplete work-in-progress scratched that itch, and I’d lose interest in the remaining work.
I became frustrated with “taking the easy way out”, and viewed sharing too early as in opposition with completing it. I decided to avoid talking about projects because it was more important to finish them. For instance, promising to draw 30 shapes before releasing them publicly.
I let the work do more of the talking. Shipping was an exciting release of pent-up anticipation.
There was a problem though: I’d attached my motivation to delaying gratification. The ups and downs and joys of the creative process became secondary to the final product. And I’d feel terrible when I made something really good and nobody reacted.
I missed opportunities to capture moments of inspiration. By the time I’d sit down to write I was cold: it was a chore of trying to remember the details, failing to catch the energy I’d felt earlier.
My original conclusion to delay gratification wasn’t wrong at the time, by the way. Because sharing was my driving reason behind creating things. But it was short-sighted. There other ways to drive projects forward. What was missing wasn’t energy, it was motivation and discipline.
There’s still a deep-rooted fear that pausing to write will leak energy better spent creating.
I know better, though. Sharing is a source of energy, just like it has always been.