That Special Thing

October 2, 2013


By Koseli. Image discovered here via Natalie Jean’s Pinterest board, Inspiring Me. It’s always good to get you pumped-up for a project.

Ira Glass needs no introduction — there’s no way I could recap every gem or pearl of wisdom or insight of his. This post is more of a reminder to everyone out there who’s made something, making something, or wants to make something and is struggling with the frustration of “it” just not feeling good enough. Or, if you’re struggling to even start that “thing” this video may push you over the edge to push publish, or pull out your sewing machine, or log out of Facebook and just start making stuff.

Are you working on a big project? Turning over a new leaf in your career? Jumping back into an old hobby? Let’s commiserate and cheer each other on. It’s hard work to be brave. I am working on a “thing” and honestly, it’s been super hard. One second I feel great! excited! confident! and a split second later I want five scoops of Rocky Road ice cream and a permanent spot in the corner of the couch. But I know it’s all a learning process and every day I get a little braver.

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{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Grace@ Sense and Simplicity October 2, 2013 at 9:26 am

I’ve recently taken up painting and sketching now that I”m in my 50s. I have taken art classes for a year now and only this summer bought myself my own brushes, paints, and canvasses. I love the challenge and the thrill of success when a piece actually looks interesting and pleasing, but I also am often frustrated by what I can’t paint or when my work doesn’t look like how I had pictured it in my head. It’s always worth remembering that failure is part of the learning and you need to put in your 100,000 hours before you own a skill.


2 Koseli Cummings October 2, 2013 at 10:50 am

That is so cool, Grace! My mom watercolors in her spare time and I don’t know what it is, but painting seems like the bravest thing to me. I am so scared to create “art” that I might hang in my home. I don’t know why….


3 Tricia October 9, 2013 at 3:17 pm

The scariest thing for most artists is the blank canvas. It doesn’t scare me so much anymore but sometimes its like writer’s block. Just gotta pick up the brush and do it!


4 lisa thomson October 2, 2013 at 9:46 am

“Create a volume of work to close that gap”. That will be my new mantra. Thanks for sharing this inspiration. Yes, I needed it .


5 Koseli Cummings October 2, 2013 at 10:51 am

So glad. Me too!

Just a little every day. And when you’re feeling excited, pump it out even if you’re up all night. That high is so amazing.


6 Alison (The Petit Cadeau) October 2, 2013 at 10:09 am

I’ve recently given my blog a new look, and launched a new shop for thoughtful celebrations. I want it to be GREAT, soar, but there is always the hard work behind that success, isn’t there? Sometimes it’s hard to stay confident – I highly recommend building a small community of people you can trust and talk to – in person or online. It really helps with keeping the excited and confident feelings!


7 Koseli Cummings October 2, 2013 at 10:52 am

Yes! The support of an online community has been priceless for me. I need to reach out more and share more—it really helps you feel like you can do it too.

What’s the link for your new blog and shop, Alison?! We’d love to see.


8 Alison @ The Petit Cadeau Blog October 10, 2013 at 10:52 am

Hi Koseli,

You can find me at:



9 Koseli Cummings October 10, 2013 at 10:53 am

Thank you! Yes! Love to see what people are up to. Following you on Bloglovin’ now.


10 Ann October 2, 2013 at 10:10 am

For me, it’s cherry garcia. Big smile! I feel like I go through this ALL the time. Especially when something doesn’t come out the way I planned it to.


11 Koseli Cummings October 2, 2013 at 10:53 am

Yes, yes. I’m a chocolate over fruit person but I’m so glad you have a go-to flavor like I do. :)

ALL the time, right? It’s crazy. But even the people who are killing it feel this way, I think.


12 Sara October 2, 2013 at 10:38 am

Still looking for a job in my new field of work for over 9 months now after about 5 years of sacrifice for school and a whole lot of other things. I get discouraged daily after applying for jobs everyday with nothing in return. I know it is hard and I have to persevere but it is very challenging at times. That failure will feel a long way off when I get that long awaited job, I know but it is sooo hard to wait.


13 Koseli Cummings October 2, 2013 at 10:56 am

Oh wow. Sara! We’re thinking of you. That is such a hard process and so hard to stay positive when there’s no response. (Even if that means nothing on your own qualifications.) Best of luck to you! You’ll get that job!


14 Danielle October 2, 2013 at 10:44 am

Thanks for the reminder, Koseli. And thank you Ira Glass for stating it so perfectly, “… and the work you’re making will be as good as your ambitions.” Because that’s all we ever really want, isn’t it?


15 Koseli Cummings October 2, 2013 at 10:55 am

If the blog I’m trying to build is 10% of what I hope it could be, I’ll be happy. I really will.

Thank you Danielle!


16 Siouxzy October 2, 2013 at 10:48 am

This summer I started building an app! As just an ordinary stay-at-home mom, this was an insane undertaking. It’s taken twice as long and has been twice as hard as I was anticipating. It will be done someday…. Definitely struggling through the taste gap.


17 Koseli Cummings October 2, 2013 at 10:54 am

That’s insane. A huge undertaking! My husband has spent the last two years exclusively building a social media app called Days and so I know a little bit about the work you must be putting in. It’s a huge undertaking. Please let us know when you’re done so we can support you!


18 kate October 2, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Hey Siouxzy! Hey Kos! (Siouxzy’s Regan’s sister!)


19 Siouxzy October 2, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Yay! Kate’s my sister too :)


20 Siouxzy October 2, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Oh and Koseli, Days looks awesome!

21 Megan M. October 2, 2013 at 11:23 am

I love, love, love that video/Ira Glass quote. I have wanted to become a published author for SO LONG and sometimes it seems like I will never achieve my dream. I feel like no one understands how hard it is and how frustrating it is to do creative work. Things like this help me feel not so alone.


22 Kelly October 2, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Megan, for a great kick-in-the-pants read, may I suggest Cheryl Stray’s essay “Write Like A Mother-Effer,” found in her collection “Tiny Beautiful Things.” So inspriring, and I think there’s even a web or Facebook page dedicated to it. (Note that the real title uses the actual F word!)


23 Megan M. October 3, 2013 at 7:24 am

Thanks! I’ll totally check it out. And good luck to you as well!


24 Kelly October 2, 2013 at 12:11 pm

This was great, and something I needed to see. I’ve been “seriously” and then not-so-seriously working on a book for the last year or so. Inspiration waxes and wanes, and some days, I feel like I’m just kidding myself that I’m ever going to have the discipline to finish. One must sit in the chair. And not give up. Ever.


25 Carter Higgins October 2, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Yes! I love that. In the chair, not giving up. It’s the only way those book-things ever get written. I so understand this, Kelly! You can do it.


26 Carter Higgins October 2, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Yes, yes, thank you. The timing of this reminder is so perfect, Koseli! I start a brand new job tomorrow! Out of the studio, back to the library…and I am so excited I can hardly stand it. Feels like going back to my natural habitat, so I think the transition will be smooth. And welcome! But I’m most worried about making friends and being the new girl, since the school year has already started. Will that sinking thing ever go away in our adult hearts!?!?

Be brave. That’s it.


27 Koseli Cummings October 10, 2013 at 10:57 am

Oh, best of luck Carter!

First days are exciting/scary. I’m sure you knocked them charmed.


28 ck October 2, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Actually, I AM working on a new project, a series of lectures on the Middle Ages. My intention with them is to use creativity and images to educate interested lay people about the Middle Ages. This is really going out on a limb for me, because people in academia tend to be very conservative and serious. Many also disapprove of new media! I’m not even sure where I’m going with the whole thing, but it just felt right to try.


29 Jessica @ Little Nesting Doll October 2, 2013 at 12:27 pm

I started crying sitting at my laptop watching this two minute clip and realizing it’s okay to struggle. And that, of course, I’m not the only one who struggles, even if it occasionally feels that way. I want to write, I love to write, and I want to make a career out of writing. It’s hard for me also because I have never felt comfortable calling myself creative or referring to myself as a writer, but that’s what I want to be and at my best, it’s who I am, so I have to own it, accept the frustration that goes with it, and just keep swimming. Thank you for a very timely reminder!


30 Koseli Cummings October 10, 2013 at 10:57 am

:):) Jessica! I feel you, I feel you. Keep on.


31 Pat October 2, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Love the vimeo….A particularly important message for people my age (70)…you can be a beginner at any age ….


32 Zulu October 10, 2013 at 3:14 am

Oh, I wish my family would be that open about these kinds of things. I’ve tried myself in so many ways, jobs, sports and hobbys through the years and as I’m hitting the 26 this year, all I hearing from my family is “grow up and walk the line” or something along the way. I love them but it’s just so complicated at times.


33 sasha mari peterson October 2, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Koseli you spoke the words in my soul. It is like jumping off a cliff and knowing your going to fly and find joy in the flight or fall on the soft cushy pillows below, cry for a bit and move on a whole person. The worst that could happen in nothing wonderful or just the opposite and dreams blossom and expectations are met. I ponder on my fear to just try for fear of not being enough… but try i have and here it is my own world of posh to share with the world. The reception has empowered me and made me smile inside. Glad I jumped and I love you sweet sister Kos.


34 Melissa de la Fuente October 2, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Oh…I am SO glad to hear I am not the only one. I was JUST repeating this phrase to myself the other day! Thanks so much for the reminder and I am cheering everyone on from my corner of the couch! :)


35 Ginger J. October 2, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Go, Koseli! Doing a fist-pump cheer for you! Those of us in creative fields all need cheerleaders from time to time–community is so important to keep one going through the rough patches. So I cheer for you! And for you others who are brave and take risks for those things that call to your soul!


36 nicole October 2, 2013 at 8:24 pm

It’s so funny that you posted this… I realized just the other day that I stopped writing and creating and sewing and freelancing at precisely the same time I opened my facebook account 5 years ago (it’s also when I had a baby). It’s weird how I allowed the pseudo creativity of posting comments and photos to siphon-off my need to create real “things”. I’m storing up that need and hope that soon I will explode with words and art to bring into my real world.


37 This girl loves to Talk October 3, 2013 at 4:06 am

wow. y0ur comment really reasonated with me. I agree with the pseudo creativity!! yikes.


38 sharon October 2, 2013 at 8:53 pm

love this. listened to it twice today.


39 sharon October 2, 2013 at 8:53 pm

make that three.


40 jx October 2, 2013 at 11:59 pm

Great quote and video. I’ve been been job hunting… not very successfully…. so I just have to keep at it. Meanwhile my blog keeps me busy and sane, not great at networking, but am definitely developing that body of work on the blog! :D Though I wish I have a clearer vision of where to lead it to :P


41 Béa October 3, 2013 at 3:55 am

Just what I needed today!
Thanks a million!


42 Miggy October 3, 2013 at 7:04 am

Oh man…such brilliant advice. I feel like I’ve always known this, but not put quite in that way. When I was studying painting in college and working on my final show I was showing my professor/advisor my work. He looked at my work, looked at me and said, “You’re not painting every day are you?” And I said, No. There is something about that consistency that really makes a difference. I often liken creative endeavors, in my case painting, to working out…the more out of shape I am, the harder and more difficult and ultimately the more unsuccessful I am in my work. But when I’m working consistently, then it comes easier and my success is higher. I’ve never really realized that it can in fact take years to get out of that ‘not what I’m aiming for’ phase…so that’s really good to hear. But like Ira said, if there’s no consistency and you probably won’t get better.


43 CiCi Davis October 4, 2013 at 9:10 am

Thank you for this brilliant post, it was so needed this week. I often get to that place and its nice to be reminded to push through.


44 Koseli Cummings October 10, 2013 at 10:55 am

You are so welcome. I needed it too.


45 Sarah October 5, 2013 at 3:53 am

Thank you SO MUCH for this video!


46 véronique October 7, 2013 at 1:00 am

Thank you Ira Glass and thank you Koseli for this inspiring video. Sometimes when you a re in the midst of winter you need to be reminded that you can do something to get yourself out of the storm. It’s not only a question of time but you need the will as well. I’m actually in a storm of ideas and projects – I haven’t chosen yet which one I’m gonna choose and this phase is both exciting and unnerving, full of hope and completely depressing and some days I lose faith so thanks again for this support you offer !


47 Koseli Cummings October 10, 2013 at 10:56 am

Veronique, thank you so much! good luck in your big decisions.


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