Motivation and Starting Early

I ran across this today via boingboing: “Sitting Bull: A Life Story” as told in in comic form. I recommend taking a look at it, not necessarily because it’s by a ten year old girl–her name is Sasha Matthews–a lucky kid from the upper west side of NYC. She’s talented, and pretty well read too, according to this interview.

The reason I like the comic is because Sasha has a really great handle on economic storytelling. She covers a lot of ground, an entire life story, with a sense of research and complete ideas in it.

by Sasha Harmon Matthews

by Sasha Harmon Matthews

I don’t know how much her father helped with the writing (he works on the marketing) but it does remind me of the stories I’d try putting together at her age; just completed, more ambitious, and better. It feels written by a ten year old, for a ten year old, and it is passionate and fun and good.

And she’s already finished her second book, about life in Pompeii before and during the disaster. Pick up a copy here.

I remember the helplessness of ideas being forever out of reach when I was ten. I still feel it. Trying to get a single thing done in a day, a year, feels daunting. Actually accomplishing anything personal is immense and powerful.

I’ve got a lifetime of starting things behind me. In my worst most critical moments it doesn’t seem like I’ve done (finished) a damn thing. Which isn’t true. I’ve managed a handful of very special achievements in my creative work, and life in general. The hardest lesson I’ve had to learn for myself is that work piles up incrementally every day, if it–whatever it is–isn’t done in a day, a year, that doesn’t mean it won’t see completion. Unless you give up, or get permanently distracted chasing some other butterfly, which is the easy thing to do when the work and learning only accumulates in paper thin sheets, small bites of data, or dead ends that need to be backed out of before going back forward.

I could go back to being ten years old, knowing what I know now (the premise of so many stories) I know my problems wouldn’t change. I’d have more time to work on them, but I can’t go back anyway so the goal in the here and now must be to work with more focus, and get better at stacking up the progress.

Don’t give up just because there’s a world of ten year olds racing up behind.

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