The doing, and the having done

When I look back over the last 16 days, I think, hey I'm not doing too bad. I feel pleased with myself that I've managed to (sort of) keep up with this 'blog every day' challenge. It's all right, eh!

Then I look at today, and the fact that I starting my draft this close to midnight, and I'm like - shit.

I watched Tim Urban's TED talk recently. He's the Wait But Why guy, for anyone who doesn't know. Amidst the tomfoolery of deconstructing procrastination, one tiny thing he mentioned stuck out at me - that it's always been his dream to have done a TED talk.

Have done.

My life flashed before my eyes. At least, the parts where I've said yes to things because they sounded cool at the time, and later found that they were difficult and I hated them. Crocheting a kilometre of yarn, studying while working (twice), the 100 day project, NaNoWriMo. For these and many more, I'd feel the pinch not long after starting and find myself swearing to never do anything like that again.

Generally speaking, doing sucks. It's work. It's hard. It's anxiety-inducing. Your armpits sweat; your hair smells.

But in theory, to get to the end and be able to say you have done something is your reward. You complete the work and feel great as you feast on your accomplishments.

Except it doesn't always go that way. When I look back at the projects I struggled through, I can't say all of them make me feel good. In fact, there are a few that still make me mad at myself for having said yes to.

Sometimes the only reward I found at the finish line was simply that I could finally abandon the thing I didn't enjoy. The doing sucked, and the having done wasn't much better when it left me burned out and dealing with any fallout.

But time rolled on, and somewhere in a future I hadn't seen but eventually encountered, I found the payoffs from those crappy projects waiting for me. I came across situations where I could apply things I didn't realise I'd learned, or leverage qualifications and experience I'd dismissed as unimportant. So even those projects that stoke my angst to this day bore some reward after all.

With 13 more days to go, I'm not sure what my reward will be at the end of this challenge. I don't feel my writing getting better, but I do feel more confident - though it's more like 'confidence through obligation' as there's no time to maudle.

Admittedly (and pessimistically), I'm not expecting to be happy about having done it. But if in the distant future I manage to write a best-seller, would I look back at 2016 #blogjune and acknowledge its value?

I hope this doesn't mean that to feel rewarded, I must one day write a best-seller.

Or, should I say, "have written a best-seller".