Time travel is exhausting

If you’re imagining your future and then looking back at today through a rear-view mirror, it can wear you out.

Writing a book (all caps, WRITING A BOOK) or preparing for a TED talk (already in all caps) can paralyze an ordinarily productive person.

At the same time, tweeting is easy for a lot of people.

That’s because Twitter makes the false promise that it’s all about now. Whatever. Write what you’re doing, or feeling, or angry about. It’ll be obsolete in ten minutes. No future, no rear view mirror.

On the other hand, a book feels permanent. It’s not for now, it’s for later. It’s your testament, something for strangers to read.

And so, when you sit to write your book (or your blog, for that matter), you imagine who’s going to read it, one day in the future. And then you reflect from that distant, amorphous place back to now.

Time travel.

Without a doubt, we need to do this now and then. We need the discipline to think hard about the implications of our actions. We need to plan, to envision, to make trade-offs. It keeps us on track, doing work we’re proud of.

But when you find that it’s paralyzing you, it might be better to get back to now. Sit around the campfire and simply tell your story. Your story as of now, for the people who are with you, now.