The first commit is the hardest

The first commit is the hardest
Photo by Zan / Unsplash

I am a maker at my core. I make as my work and as my art. Over the years I've made websites, services, and apps. I've made stickers, clothing, and luggage. I've made friendships and partnerships. I've made adventures and memories. I love the process of making. The process of seeing a need in the world. The process of turning that spark of an idea into a plan for something I want to make. The process of making it and the endless hours of enjoyable flow found in making it, refining it, trying it, and iterating on it some more. And the process of putting it into the world, sharing it with other people to get their reactions and iterate based on their input. I'm fairly confident that if I filled the rest of my life with making I'd be happy and fulfilled. And yet it's often hard for me to start making. I am easily lulled into the distraction of an easy but unwelcome chore or distraction instead of making what I love.

How could it be hard to start something that brings me such joy? It can be hard to make things and put them into the world. Making can involve working on something previous and important. And indeed the very act of achieving flow involves sufficient challenge that pushes the boundaries of one's attention and capacity. There are often moments of ambiguity and doubt along the way. There are often many hours of long work and of rework. Perhaps its the source the cliche of an artist as a tortured soul. Making isn't always enjoyable. And yet there's the beautiful promise of the joy of making. And so as I've done countless times before, I push on and start making. I trust that I'll find the joy I'm seeking once I start. I have the grit to move forward born from trust in my past experience. Pushing through doesn't always work, but it often does. And a bit of inspirational music often helps too.

As I'm often making in the form of software, I've come to call this "just make the first commit". In software development, a commit is saving a increment of coding progress. It's an increment of moving forward. And I find that once I make the first commit, I'm normally sucked into the flywheel of flow and can make for hours. But the first commit is the hardest. And so I make the first commit even if I don't feel like it. I make the first commit even if I don't want to. Because I have faith and trust that if I trust the process the rest will follow. Some people might call this "trusting the process", trusting that doing the work will lead to the desired outcome. I trust that if I do the hard thing now, that I'll shortly have that joy I'm seeking. And so I make the first commit. I'm committed to it.

My GitHub commits from the past year. My goals is to have at least 1 commit most days.