I’ve written for a living for close to a decade now, but I actually have very little to show for my years of experience.
So now I’m scrambling, trying to understand my own craft better, and you know what? Let the first lesson be that you should learn about your job wayyyy before the one-decade mark.
But the second best time to plant a tree is today, am I right? So no use crying over spilt milk (oh, we’re on a cliche journey with this post, so put on your seatbelts). Instead, let’s explore the skills any typical writer should have—or in my case, wishes he had.
What do doughnuts, sex, and cocaine have in common? They’re pretty danged pleasurable, that’s what.
How about the post-workout high, acing the exams you’ve been studying hard for, and finishing the first draft of your novel? Awesome too, right?
Most of us would lump all of the above under happiness, and rightfully so, but there is a certain distinction between the two (which we’ll be exploring shortly).
We’ve all heard this before: delayed gratification is better than instant gratification. But why? Why is snorting coke off a stripper’s bum not as good as eating salad and working out?
And that, ladies and gentlemen, brings us to the question of pleasure versus gratification.
So you’ve probably heard of morning pages.
I mean, you can’t mention books like On Writing, Bird By Bird, and The War Of Art without including The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. And in it lies one of the most helpful ways to unlock your creativity, and that’s the morning pages.
In a nutshell, this the practice of filling up three A4 pages (Cameron uses letter-sized, but let’s keep things simple) longhand before starting your day.
I’d started morning pages a few years back and I loved it. But that practice slowly evolved into normal journalling, something I thought would function the same.
Only after picking it up again did I realise how wrong I was. Morning pages wasn’t something I could simply replace with journalling, no matter how long my entries were. The entire mindset going into it was different.
If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ll probably have noticed me spamming your feed with my daily workouts.
As of today, I’ve just passed my 60-day streak, and I did manage to learn some interesting things about myself along the way.
And you know the first thing I’ve realised? It’s that exercising is not about getting washboard abs or increasing your bench record. Instead, it does more for your mental and spiritual growth.
Photo: Jonathan Borba
You know how you always wish for a windfall? Something like a promotion, winning the lottery, or accidentally rubbing shoulders with an angel investor that suddenly sees fit to pour in two million dollars into your business?
These manifestations of luck sound sweet and all, but are you really ready for them?
Are you good enough at your job to handle the added expectations from an investor? Can you handle the extra digits in your bank account if you’re currently struggling with your personal budget?
What about your personality? Do you think you’ll be able to lead a team just because you got that swanky new promotion?