January 05, 2015

Can't Never Could

For my whole life, when I would say "I can't....," my father would say "Can't never could."  I have a bad habit of doing that, so I need to change it. When something is difficult, instead of going slowly and trying to master it, I just say "I can't do that," or "I'm not good at that."

I've been wanting to learn technical writing and copywriting. They both pay well, but are not easy to learn. There are free courses online, and I've looked at them, even downloaded a book, but deemed it "too complicated."  This year, I'm going to learn one of them, come hell or high water. I think I'll start with copywriting.

The hardest part of anything you want to learn to do is starting. I'm not a good starter or a good finisher. I tend to give up somewhere in the middle. This is something I truly need to work on this year. I'll start by writing some of those difficult assignments on CrowdSource that someone obviously felt I could do, or I wouldnt' be qualified for them.

When I first started writing, I was horrible. Then I had to learn AP style and I thought of quitting every day. I'm still not perfect at it, and I still get critical edits, but I'm a lot better than I was, and I'm still learning. One day I will actually remember and understand all the number rules -- well, maybe never, but I'm going to try.

When I first started writing, it took me two hours to complete a 400 word article. People kept telling me I would get faster, and I thought I never would. Then one day it took me 90 minutes, then an hour, and my maximum time now to write a well-researched 400 word article is 30 minutes when I know the subject matter well and 45 when I don't. Research used to take me forever, but I started a bookmarking system for sites and topics I knew I would commonly use, and that helps cut my research time to a fraction of what it was before.

The point I'm trying to make is that at one time, I overcame obstacles instead of pushing them aside. I don't know what changed that, but I'm determined to change it back, not only in my professional life, but in my personal life as well. It's easy to find or invent excuses not to start and easier to give up once you have started. Overcoming the urge to do that is one of the goals I have set for myself.

I have a bicycle. It's not much of a bicycle, but it works and it was freely given by a friend, so I use it. It has sat here in my living room for months while I bemoaned having to walk back and forth to the grocery store and other places, or pay for bus fare, when I could have easily ridden it. The other day, I put air in the tires and rode my bike. I just rode it around, checking places out, finding my way around, but I rode it. Now that I've started, I'm going to ride it every day that weather permits. I'm getting a rack and baskets put on the back so I can use it to go grocery shopping, or I may just use the little basket I already have and go to the store every day and get just a little bit of stuff and my daily exercise all at once. I noticed while riding it that it felt sort of like flying without wings to be zipping down the road I had previously trudged down grudgingly.

Really, sometimes the solution to your problem is right in front of you and you just refuse to see it, or refuse to do it, or make excuses. What have you procrasinated or not finished lately? Are you going to do it this year? Just pick one thing and finish it. It will make you feel so special!


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