Fear and Loathing in Granada Hills

Today is supposed to be the day of “the big Immaculatize.com launch.”  And progress is well underway.  I am sitting in a Starbucks in Granada Hills on a perfectly rainy day, writing and re-writing pages of copy for the site while eating almonds and drinking Green Tea.  Immaculata, baby.

Pretty soon there will be a revamped “About” page, a complete recap of my September experience, and a full run-down of the two-week “Pre-Thanksgiving Rad-a-Thon” that I’ll be hosting in November.  I’ll be setting the table for the kind of daily content you will be seeing on this site.  And oh, so much more.

But the truth is, it might not all be up by the end of the day.  In fact, I can’t promise that it will all be up by the end of the week.

This is by no means the end of the world.  To my knowledge, there are 5 people who know this site exists, all of whom will survive another day if this website goes another few days without new content.

So why even post this?

That’s a good question, but I think I have a good answer: Because I want to have a relic on this site of how procrastination, laziness, and ultimately fear can paralyze just about any creative endeavor.   Even those with the most noble of intentions.  Because Immaculata has been driving me like nothing before.  The more I talk about it, the more I put it out there, the more people respond to it with matching enthusiasm and excitement.   Immaculata has given me renewed confidence, focus, and passion.  But I am finding that it isn’t necessarily changing my work ethic.  I find myself playing the same games with myself, finding every reason in the world to put off sharing this with the world.

Take the last week for example.  As a freelance video producer, work has been slow of late, and I only had to work two days.  The rest of my time was completely free.  Which is why I made the bold declaration that I’d have the site ready for a more complete launch today.  And so I woke up everyday with only one thing on my schedule: Work on Immaculatize.com.  And here’s how it went:

8:30am – Get out of bed after an average of 30 minutes of snoozing.
8:40am – Bowl of cereal (Kashi and Crunchy Corn Bran mixed with raisins and Soy Milk) while reading the LA Times Sports and Calendar sections.
9:00am – Hit the treadmill for 30-60 minutes.  Usually watching a History Channel show about trucks on icy roads or lumberjacks or people that buy and sell junk.
10:00am – Hit the shower.
10:30am – 12:30pm – Get online.  Check email.  Spend some time on Facebook.  Hit up some message boards.  Chat with some people on AIM.  Tell myself that it’s pointless to dive into the website when I’ll be eating lunch in less than two hours, better enjoy this “free internet time” to explore, catch up on other stuff.
12:30pm – Make some lunch.  Usually bell peppers, hummus, and Tofurkey with lots of Tapatio, and sparkling water mixed with OJ.  Of course my lunch time reading is opening my favorite NBA websites and blogs in 15 tabs and slowly making my way through.
1:30pm – Time to dive into the site.  But since I’ve been on the NBA sites for so long, I better check in on emails and Facebook, etc.  Of course there are lots of links to check out in said email and Facebook news feed.
2:30pm – Time to dive into the site.  But shit, now I am thinking about how I need more work to make more money so I can move out.  Better look at some job listings for a while.
3:30pm – Time to dive into the site. But shit, I am so depressed by the fact that there are no jobs to my liking.  Also, what do I even do in this world?  Oh right, you are building this Immacualta thing!  But there’s no money in that right now.
3:32 pm – I need a snack.  30 almonds it is.  I’ll read some articles on The Onion while I eat these almonds.
4:00pm – Time to dive into the site.  But shit, I can’t work at home.  I know that.  What was I thinking.  Better go to a coffee shop where I can better focus.
4:15om – At Starbucks.  Venti Green Tea, two bags.  Iced if weather permits.  Time to dive into the site.  But it’s been a while since I’ve read my emails and checked in on Facebook.
4:45pm – Time to dive into the site.  Ok, it’s on.  Open all the documents.  So many notes, so many ideas, so many started drafts.   This is too overwhelming.  Ok, just pick something and start writing.  I start writing.
5:30pm – Wow, 45 minutes of writing, I’m on a roll!  I can see actual progress being made!  This is great!  I will reward myself with a quick email and Facebook check.
6:00pm – Time to dive back into the site.  But shit, it’s almost Dinner time.  Not enough time to really get focused.  I’ll go home and eat, then I’ll have the rest of the night to work on it.
6:30pm – Dinner.  Usually rice and veggies and salmon.  Or something of the like.
7:00pm – Time to dive into the site.  Email and Facebook first, naturally.
7:30pm – Time to dive into the site.  Maybe I should go back to Starbucks.  I know I work better there.  But they close in a couple hours, so won’t be able to get much momentum.
8:00pm – Time to dive into the site.  But shit, I forgot, I am still broke and need to make money.  I’ll read some job listings.  I’ll read some motivational websites.  I’ll pop into email and Facebook.
8:30pm – Starting to get a little distracted.  What’s the rest of my week look like?  Wow, pretty wide open!  I really need a FULL DAY to get all this work done, so I’ll plan to work through it on Thursday.  It’ll be a POWER DAY!  I’ll wake up, immediately go to Starbucks, and just go ape shit crazy on this.  It’ll be so on then.
9:00pm – Watch TV, read a book, do a crossword puzzle, meet up with some friends, anything other than work on site.

Total time spent on site: 45 minutes, give or take.

And that’s pretty much my life the past couple years.  Granted, I’m obviously in a far better place now than I was pre-Immacualta, and being aware of my propensity to put things off and actually break them down is a major step.  But like I know so many of my creative friends do, I fail to manage my projects in a way that is conducive to actually getting significant amounts of work done.  I let my projects exist in a very broad space.  I don’t break them down into all the necessary steps.  I don’t schedule specific tasks for specific times.  And inevitably I become extremely overwhelmed when I finally sit down to get it done.  And in the instances when I do set a date, I generally wait until the last possible minute (obviously) to whip something up that will be the absolute bare minimum required of me.  Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.

Which leads to right now.  As Immacualta is my personal quest to add more awesomeness to my life, I need to start sharing these roadblocks with the hope that sharing my breakthroughs will provide inspiration for anyone grappling with similar issues.  Plus, it will be cool to look back on this years from now, when there are millions of people immaculatizing, and my 4th book is being published, and I am giving the commencement speech at Pierce College (Harvard probably won’t come for another 10 years or so), and see that my hard work conquering this rambling mind of mine that is constantly inventing excuses and rationales for not doing the things I know I need to be doing, finally paid off.

And so I am committing to a one-week Mini-maculata ©.  Every day this week, I must spend 2 hours on this site.  I can spend more if I want.  But a minimum 2 hours.  During that 2 hours, I may not check email, or Facebook, or navigate anywhere online that does not directly relate to getting this site ready for a full launch.  Before each writing session, I must have one clear goal.  And by the end of the day today, I must figure out what those clear goals are, and how they fit into the overall goal of having this site ready for full launch by end of this week.  (I deleted something that was here.  If anyone saw it, you are welcome to personally lambast me via email. 🙂

As for now, I’ve got some email and Facebook to check in on.

So, what do you think ?