There are very few superstitions I take seriously.
But there are some that lie sneakily in a grey area between prudence and insanity. “Don’t talk about a new project too much” is one.
1) The pressure
I feel an immense pressure to “make something of” a project if I talk about it too much. It’s a silly, unnecessary pressure, because if I focus on the project itself it’ll turn out just fine. But if I focus on “making something of it” it often turns out to be a flop.
For example, I’m learning from a local graphic design artist, and at our first check-in (to see how the art was coming along) I didn’t feel proud of my work. I felt like I had to justify every drawing. It’s just, I talked to so many people about it and put so much pressure on myself that when it came down to actually doing it – well, I couldn’t. My brain kind of shut down and I couldn’t churn out good ideas. (The project was to draw sample logos for a company.)
2) The release
Sometimes when I talk about a project, I lose interest. There is a release of emotional buildup – I use up the excitement I felt toward the project on talking to people instead of doing the project. That definitely was the case for this blog. When I first started posting I wrote about how I would post every day. Then I felt so satisfied with the thought that I really let the ball drop pretty quickly.
3) The expectations
You know those people who incessantly ask you how such-and-such is going? They’re excited for you and you realize that they have expectations for your project. But I’d rather field questions about a project that I’ve worked on a lot rather than one I haven’t even started yet.
A couple years ago I developed an interest in writing an autobiographical book. I was very excited. I told my friends and my friends told their friends – and then suddenly everyone was interested in a book I hadn’t written. This is a great thing in one sense, because you want to generate interest in a book. But for me, it would have been better to write first, then publicize.
4) The nerves
I tend to talk too much when I’m nervous about something. Somehow it must have created a kind of psychological association or trigger, because it also works in the opposite direction. When I talk too much about something I get nervous, even if there’s nothing to be nervous about. Better to have quiet persistence than frantic enthusiasm.