“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” – Aristotle
To be a good writer it is vital to write every day. Like anything else the more experience you have in a specific arena the better you perform. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, he writes that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something. This happens when your brain creates and strengthens synaptic nerves through neuroplasticity. Brain training. I am far from 10,000 hours and far from an expert but you have to start somewhere. This post is about that exercise.
I haven’t posted an entry in about a week. Between work and taking out the trash, cooking dinner, walking the dog, doing laundry, so on an so forth, I haven’t found the time. I think we all live like this. Perhaps you want to be a baseball player or a photographer but it is hard to find time when real life sneaks up on you.
That is not the only reason I have been slacking. I haven’t posted anything in a week because I didn’t really like what I was posting. I am sure you haven’t done this but I reread my post ten or more times. Writing and editing alone takes me at least an hour or two. I get sick of myself pretty fast. Again, I think that a lot of people live this way. Perhaps you threw a good curve ball or took some nice photographs but they didn’t meet your own standards. So they get left in the rearview. Going to work is easy, clear cut, doing the dishes is simple but not particularly exciting. Still it is easy to get lost in these tasks because there is little opportunity for failure. Creativity is a practice married to failure. When you become so invested in something, something you create, that failure can become overwhelming.
“I have failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeeded.” – Michael Jordan
Since I moved down here I have become accustom to failure. Be it with a job, at a budget, or any kind of plan, whenever you endeavor into something new, regardless of how prepared you thought you were, a lot of your preconceptions tend to end up getting thrown out the window. Failure teaches us how to succeeded. Because in a world with infinite number of wrong possibilities the right combinations are often hard to find. Babies don’t come out of the womb walking, talking, and full of confidence. We have to crawl before we can stand. This is a hard concept for me to deal with personally. Not because I can’t take failure but because I have always willingly accepted it.
“Life sucks then you die.” – Cole Morrissey
I don’t still feel this way but for a long time I honestly believed there wasn’t much a person could do to combat all the problems that they face. Just grin and bear it. There is a kind of stoic knowledge in that ideology. When something horrible happens you can just shake it off, say fuck it, people mistake that for strength. When the whole world seems to be crashing down and you can shrug it off and keep moving. That isn’t strength, it is cowardice. Strength is when something horrible happens you look it in the eye and say fuck you. When the whole world comes crashing down and you take it on your back and keep moving. Breaking down, getting upset, feeling desperate, everyone has those moments and feels those things. It is what you do after that moment that ultimately determines what your made of.
“The world breaks every one, some are strong at the broken places.” – Ernest Hemingway
What does any of this have to do with writing you may ask? Two things. One, I wrote it so I am accomplishing that task that I set out to do in the beginning. Two, writing is like anything else. Whatever it is you love. Be it music, bowling, cooking, building cars,studying math, bring a drunken slob, just do it. Find a way to do it. Building ingenuity towards achieving something you love is a worthy practice. Regardless of what other people say or think. Your whole being will be one hundred times better off if you do it every day. The key is to do what you love with a purpose, to get better at it. No matter how menial the task or aspiration if you accomplish it with conviction of perpetuating success you are strengthening your resolve. The reason we act and react in this crazy world is because there is something built into our DNA that makes us move forward. Give into that urge and stop being static. Don’t take the path of least resistance because that is what sheep do. Find what you love and follow that. Sure maybe that isn’t ethical or realistic. But neither is that fact that your alive, or that earth supports life, or that you are reading this right now. If you worked out the odds you would be surprised how unlikely it is that your a living, breathing, thinking, being right now. The universe exists to give birth to the unlikely. The reason for all this space is to fill it with mistakes to support the success. Use that.
So this post isn’t really a story or an opinion, it’s a rant. Kind of a sloppy one. I had to get it out though. The longer I put it off the harder it will be to get started again. I will have another one for you tomorrow or the next day. Thanks for reading.