And Then I Didn’t

Dave Gutteridge
3 min readMay 10, 2021
A blank spiral bound notebook with a pencil laying on top.
(Photo by Ashley West Edwards on Unsplash)

I have a drawing, a story, a project, a thing, anything, one of many many things I want to work on. I’m sitting down, I’m at my computer, I have my pen and pencil and sketchbook and whatever else I need and I’m ready to go. Time to start.

But I don’t.

Why don’t I just do it? Just start writing, drawing, planning, outlining, making, creating. Just start, that’s all it takes. First line, first word, first step. Just start.

But I don’t.

I’ve read so many things over the years about productivity. Don’t pressure yourself to be perfect. Start writing badly, draw without fear of what anyone will think of it. You don’t even have to show it to anyone. Just start.

But I don’t.

I’ve learned a million tricks to beat procrastination, but I’ve also built an immunity for each one. I can’t use my ability to out think myself against me, it’s always one step ahead.

I’m sitting here for minutes that are starting to string together into noticeable portions of my day. I look at my phone, I’m not even sure if it’s distraction or comfort. I’ve read about “dopamine depletion” and how little entertainments sap your commitment. I put my phone down again. Just focus, just do it.

But I don’t.

Is it fear of failure holding me back? A perception that the great idea in my head that I want to make won’t be anything like the idea in my head when it’s an idea in the world? I create works of beauty in my mind. I create works of mediocrity with my hands.

Stop self criticizing, stop worrying about reception. Just make more things. Every genius that everyone has ever appreciated made tons of stuff that was garbage. No one remembers the crap. Everyone just remembers the stuff they liked. The only way to make the stuff everyone likes is to get all it all out there and let the world decide which things they want to keep.

Okay, so, are we doing this or not?

No. I’m not.

I’m not staring at the proverbial blank page, the one without structure that gives no hints about what should be on it. I’m looking at the story I’ve partly written, the most recent text filling half my screen. I’m looking at the half outlined sketches I started…

Dave Gutteridge

I write thought-provoking pieces on ethics, relationships, and philosophy with honesty and vulnerability, often inspired by experiences and pop culture.