You Can’t Always Get What You Want

“Never be afraid to throw away a want. Wants change, goalposts move, and resolutions and ambitions are not binding contracts.”

-Warren Ellis, 7jul17

In looking over my writing and production schedules, I keep fixating on a book that keeps getting pushed back. I originally wanted to release it earlier this year. Then it go pushed to this August, where it still sits. It might get pushed out until the fall, though. I really want it to be a thing that exists in the world. It’s bugging me that I haven’t gotten what I want yet. You can’t always get what you want.

A lot of people can’t seem to discern the difference between a want and a need. This is definitely a cultural thing, more prevalent in places where rampant consumerism programs us for instant gratification. If we can’t get it right now, we can become fixated on it. We have to have it, even if a month or a day or an hour later we can’t remember why we wanted the damned thing in the first place.

It’s also a workaholic thing, and a habit I sorely need to break. There is a component of work ethic and fear of wastefulness to it. Finish what you’ve started, or the work you’ve put into it will have been wasted. Clean your plate, there are children in America who go to bed hungry. Those turn into wants, somehow, which then become conflated with goals. I want to complete this project, even though it serves no purpose anymore. I want to finish eating all of the food that’s in front of me even though I’m full. We feel as if we’re bad people, lazy or incompetent if we don’t get closure on those wants.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

As for that book, the reason its release got pushed is that a larger publisher is releasing something similar. They’re much bigger and have a lot more publicity and a bigger production budget. I want to release it now, but it would get buried. It might get some attention because the zeitgeist is attuned to that topic and genre right now, but more than likely I’d be accused of being a low-rent knockoff. What I want isn’t what I need. In order for it to get the attention it deserves, and the recognition for being its own thing, I need to throw away my wants.

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