Serving Time In Liminal Space
Somewhere between who I was and who I wish to be
In my last post, I discussed hiring a coach and laid out my broad objectives in doing so. The short recap:
Schedule & Prep Creation/Creative Time
Commit to a Written Content Plan
Be the Hero In My Story
We met yesterday - two weeks after our initial meeting. I have not done the work I wanted to do. I have not stuck to my schedule.
As we talked, I found myself discussing all the things that have been pulling my time the past two weeks. All those things, the things pulling my time… they are very real. Deb and I have a lot going on behind the scenes. Family stuff, our own stuff, work stuff, etc.
All of the things I mentioned are excuses!
I’m pretty crafty though. I positioned all the excuses as reasons. It was masterful! Impressive even!
Yesterday’s coaching session re-introduced something I had reflected on several years ago. In fact, if I look back on prior writings, since at least 2008. Maybe even 2005.
Am I stuck in a liminal space?
relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process.
occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.
For awhile, liminal space became the cliché for a lot of online content - videos specifically. Sean Tucker, a photographer and YouTuber, put this video out.
It isn’t as though I haven’t progressed in that time. But I certainly haven’t produced what I said I would produce.
I’ve learned new things: I’ve been hired to write productivity software for Meta (Facebook). I learned new recording and production skills. I’ve learned a little bit about photography. I’ve picked up new gear.
Still, I remain stuck in a few key areas.
For all my boldness, I have some significant hang-ups… fears even.
I’ve wanted to create more videos to give a behind-the-scenes look at my creative process, how I write songs, and even specific songs I write. I want to create videos that are both interesting visually and compelling in their content.
I’ve made some half-hearted attempts. Some stuff that is pretty good. Some stuff that is less so.
Does Liminal = Fear?
Call it what you want: Imposter’s Syndrome… over-thinking… failure to execute… fence-sitting… self-criticism… who am I navel gazing… etc. etc. blah blah blah.
I think the name you give it is less important than the outcome. It is certainly less important than what I suspect is the “solution.”
I put solution in quotes above because I don’t believe there is A solution as much as an ongoing set of disciplines.
My coach is reading Atomic Habits by James Clear and has recommended it to me. I’m going to read it this coming week. The basic idea is that, if you can improve yourself by 1% a day, that compounds to 37 times better at the end of the year.
Don’t get hung up on those numbers, per se. It is more the discipline of execution and improvement that matters.
But, holy cow, me 37 times better is pretty awesome! Hell… 15% better is nothing to shake a stick at.
Blaming Casey Neistat
For those who do not know who Casey Neistat is, where have you been? Not on YouTube, obviously.
Casey is a video creator - self-taught, hired by brands like Nike and others. His video, Make it Count, is amazing.
But his daily vlogs became the standard, copied by many/most of the vloggers & YouTubers in one fashion or another. His pacing, editing, and creative shots are worth checking out.
But, they are also daunting.
On at least two occasions I’ve analyzed several minutes of his videos - putting the timing of each cut and transition on a spreadsheet.
I’ve probably analyzed what he does more than he has ever analyzed what he does.
And so, I blame Casey Neistat for my lack of production. (note: I blame myself but this section is about deferral of responsibility, so bare with me.)
Or I blame Ze Frank. Or I blame some other creator who is creating while I am not. And here is why I blame them.
I want to produce good content and so, rather than execute and create from where I am today, I want to create from where they are. I want to jump past my starting point to some future point.
When I speak to writers or songwriters or IT professionals, looking to grow their skills and career, I tell them to start basic. Start with small projects. Learn something than do something. Be willing to put out version 0.4 beta of whatever you want to do. Because putting out version 2.0 cannot happen without version 0.4 beta
The answer (the above quote ensconced “solution”) is to start where you are. Mostly because, you can’t start anywhere else. I want to compete in the Olympics but I fail to jump on the track at my local high school.
My Liminal Space is Not Liminal
It’s incremental. I’m not stuck in a liminal space. I’m not between where I was and where I am going. I am, where I am.
As I spoke with Jim, my coach, I explained how I was watching one of Casey’s recent videos where he talked about a new camera he was using. It was as much a commercial as anything… Casey even said so.
I immediately looked up the camera he was using. It’s pretty cool. But I also realized, it is another excuse. Another, “next thing” that I can lie to myself and say, “If I had that, I’d create something great!!”
Jim and I both laughed about that because, here is a photo of just some of our gear. Gear that is available to me today!!! In fact, its what isn’t pictured that impresses me.
I have a sneaky suspicion that I have enough gear, software, and ideas rattling around my odd little brain to make a video or two.
I don’t need Casey’s new camera… sorry Casey. I don’t need to create a Neistat-ish/Ze Frank-ish video.
I need to create Matthew Moran-esque videos and content.
To be honest, I don’t even know what those are.
Create and improve by 1% - lather, rinse, repeat.
As Ze Frank said in, “An Invocation for Beginnings” - no need to sharpen your pencils (again), “even a dull one will leave a mark.”
Thank you for giving me some of your time.
October 14, 2022
And Subscribe to my (this) Substack (if you haven’t already)