Message From my Future Self: Do What You Love

Last week, I tried to record a new VLOG. I wrote the script and recorded about 20 minutes of footage. After editing, that would probably have become a 10 minute video.

I wound up deleting it. The good and valid reason to trash the footage was because my recording used the wrong microphone, so there were a lot more audio artifacts than usual. The less good and valid reason… it was a very sad and depressing entry.

I try not to censor myself here. However, I try not to put out too much depressing content. I have written many blog posts that I never clicked Submit on because they were too dark. In spite of my dalliances with political topics on this blog, this has always been about my journey as a writer.

To be a writer, you must have endurance, and you must be able to withstand the points in your career that turn dark. One of the best ways to do this is to embrace optimism when you can, and root out pessimism when you have the strength to do so.

You cannot make it as a writer if you let the despair overwhelm you.

I’ve been so close to giving up, especially over the last year and a half. Even this last week, I’ve been feeling really down.

This morning, something occurred to me, and I want to share this in case you need encouragement the way I do.

I woke up late and took a long shower. As I breathed in the steam and the smell of soap, I began to daydream. I imagined myself leaving my body and transporting into the past. I inhabited someone else’s body in 1995, but I still remembered everything.

In this scenario, I wanted to make the world better. But how could I overcome the Cassandra problem? What could I do to convince the people in power that the information I carried truly came from a possible future?

I went to the military. I convinced them to hook me and the Brian Buhl of that time up to lie detectors and record our reactions. I would ask my younger self deeply personal questions, things only I could know, and the people observing would be able to read the reactions from both of us.

The daydream continued after the interrogation. Young Brian was thoroughly spooked and distraught after going through that ordeal, so I spoke to him to help him out. This is what I said:

“Keep writing. It brings you joy. Whether or not you succeed, it doesn’t matter. It’s a part of who you are. It keeps you sane and stable, and it’s something you’ve always loved doing. You’ll lose sight of that for a while, so I’m warning you now so you stay on it. Also, start attending writing conventions sooner than later. You’ll meet people that will change your life.”

I came to my senses, shampoo in my hair and my eyes stinging for a different reason. I realized the message I wanted to carry to my younger self applies just as much to me today.

The reality is that I probably won’t have the writing career I want. Is that the reason I write, though? No. It isn’t. I write because I have stories to put on the page. It’s who I am and it’s what I do. It would be nice to be paid for my work and to sustain myself with the stories I tell, but that’s not why I do this.

I should not allow publishing fears and concerns dissuade me from doing what I love.

Are you doing what you love? What’s stopping you? If you could go back in time and tell yourself one thing, what would it be? What do you think a future you would tell you today?

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