Permission to Land

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Permission to Land

I worry. A lot. It’s kinda my thing. I say my thing. I didn’t mean to downplay any other worriers out there. We can share it. Oh God, I hope I didn’t offend you. Please , I’m so sorry. Forget I said anything. I’ll just be in my room.

(The irony is I don’t really worry about offending anyone. If comedy has taught me anything it’s taught me what “offence” actually is, and how you can use it for good or evil).

This blog us about worrying. But also about permission and stalling doing what you want. I’ve got a sitcom idea (have I mentioned that yet?) And so far it’s coming along. Two years after having the idea I’ve read a book on sitcom writing, downloaded every episode of a sitcom writing podcast, joined three writers groups on Facebook, emailed some of my favourite writers and opened a Word doc. So I’d say I’m the king of procrastination. But (like many writers) I see this as “part of the process”. And it may well be. But the only way I’ll know that for sure is by doing some A:B testing and see if the other method is more effective.

The flip side of this is ” asking for permission “. Often when I face an awkward choice or conversation I will rehearse what I want to say. This has become less and less of a habit because I realised the conversations never went to plan anyway, so there was little point in carrying on this learned trait. Another way of controlling the situation is messaging a friend and telling them what I’m thinking to get a sanity check. In reality this is not just a santiy check (if it ever was) it is me asking this person to validate what I want to do so I don’t think I’m doing life wrong. (I know, I’m judging me a bit, but I send this blog to 8 friends before hitting publish, and at least 2 of them said it wasn’t too personal so screw you and your judgements).

I think a sanity check is healthy. Especially if you’re anything like me. When feelings get involved and stress me out, I can easily lose perspective and having a friend ground you is great. I send stuff to a max of 3 people now, just so I don’t get overwhelmed by replies and too many conflicting opinions. But that can be tricky. That’s a habit, and habits can be broken easily.

So, I’ve tried to stop telling people I’m “writing a sitcom” until I’ve actually started filling out that Word file. Because at the moment I’m a sitcom writer in the same way I’m a preacher or a bus driver. I’m pretty sure I’ve googled both of those things enough times to have about the same level of experience in those jobs as I do writing for telly (or in my case the Internet)

I guess the reason I ask people is because I’m scared. I’m scared of hurting others. I’m worried about getting or doing “life wrong” (even though I know that you can’t really, you can only not get what you want). I’m scared most of hurting myself.

I used to try and not get excited about things. I enjoyed being content about everything and when I did let in excitement I grounded myself in the knowledge it was temporary. Which is no way to live.

A decade later I’m still trying to control everything around me. Maybe I do that because it means I never have to focus on me. I should probably just live and take risks in the moment more, but that is learned and something which I am not ready for. But I will do, one day. I thought about it the other day. I love my parents a lot, but if I had a child, I wouldn’t leave them alone with them. I can’t risk them passing on the negative learned traits I’ve spent my life trying to break to someone I can’t get away from. How bad is that? No idea. I’m guessing a lot of my friends are in similar boats.

For me, I know enough to know I can do almost anything and even if it fails, I can say I failed and be prouder than saying I never tried. But it’s not that easy. It never is. Saying isn’t doing and stuff is easier said (or in my case typed) ghsn done.

I have been doing this thing where I an trying to separate my mind from me. I often feel like they’re both having conversation in my head, so there must be two of them.

Let your mind win and you lose. There can only be one winner. And if your mind (which learns what is and isn’t possible and formulates a perspective on the world) wins. You can feel trapt. And like you need another person or voice on your side. After all, in a conversation with two sides, there’s two view points. So everything is 50:50. But if I find someone who agrees with me, there’s three dogs in the fight. So everyone is 33% of the chat. If me and my friend agree (and we would because I invited them into the conversation because they agreed) then my view point is 66% and my mind is 33%. And I win. And can safely and anxiety free so what I want to do.

(I bet this makes no sense to anyone else)



Simon Caine is a comedian, author, podcaster, writer and social media manager. He's the host of the Ask The Industry Podcast (iTunes link) , writer of jokes for Twitter and teller of gags on the London comedy scene. He's also the person writing this and it is taking all his willpower not to make a "Simon Says" joke.
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