Whatever you do every day, you get better at. That might be chess. It might be yoga. It’s probably watching TV and eating shit food. You can get better at being nice and you can get better at being a rage filled asshole.
I used to have a seriously bad temper that would turn on instantly. I’d see red and light up whoever was in the way with a string of sharp words and gibberish. I sounded like an erudite Yosemite Sam. I’m honestly surprised I haven’t been in more than a handful of fist fights over the years.
At a certain point I just became exhausted of it and made an effort to stop. I fail all the time and disappoint myself with phases of hostility, but the difference between me now and five years ago is significant. You can’t stop. you have to fight your devils every day and sometimes you have to bury them in pharmaceuticals till they’re weak enough to smother in a bathtub.
The thing that always makes me feel better is a writing practice. I’ve been keeping journals since I was a little kid and when I’m writing daily, life just gets easier. Job offers come in. Invitations to do hoodrat stuff with your friends roll in. People flirt. There’s nothing as attractive as a creative person doing the thing they were gifted by fate to do. That doesn’t mean fate has fame or fortune in store for you. All you can really count on is the pleasure of the process. The knowledge that you showed up to an empty page and filled it with sigils that can change the perspective of another primate is enough. Or it should be.
I’ve spoken with a few people lately who’ve all said something like, “I wish I could write everyday.” You can. All of you can. Just sit down and do it. It doesn’t matter if it’s good. This isn’t good. What you’re reading right now is bad. But it doesn’t matter because tomorrow will be better.
If you want to do what I’m doing, here are the rules to my blogging practice:
- I have to write everyday.
- I have to write at least three sentences.
- I have to include a picture.
- I have to post it to the internet where people can read it.
- At the end of 365 days I can go to whatever schedule I want.
The first few days I had a lot of excitement and it was no problem. The second week it was a chore. After a month, it has become an obsession. Hopefully it will become an unhealthy one. It takes a certain amount of mayhem and folly to be great. If you’re not trying to be great, why not?