Creativity & Motivation

The Fear of Being Wrong

The scene I finished yesterday is called “Reincarnated cactus” and it’s 2200 words of pure Julianne and Kris interaction, which I very much enjoyed writing. Today I fell just short of 1000, but another scene is done. All of it is headed to Patreon with Friday’s update.

I finished reading two books last night: The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Mason.

The biggest thing I took away from The Creative Habit is the notion of keeping boxes for separate projects. I like this idea so much that I ordered myself some Bankers Boxes off Amazon.

All of my books already have their own notebooks, but over time, each project accumulates isolated notes and scraps and Post-Its, and because I don’t like mess I end up throwing everything away, or stashing it somewhere never to be seen again. Having a box seems like an obvious solution to what I now realize is a problem, but it never occurred to me before. I always think of boxes as things you use to store things away, not something to be actively used. So, I’m excited to give this a shot.

Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is a result of good work habits.

I read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg over the summer, and since then, I’ve been working to build better habits, starting with a good morning routine. I had a really good one going for a while: journaling, yoga, meditation, writing. I was doing it all, every day, and it was great.

Problem is that as an insomniac, I often have trouble waking up early, since “early” is when I usually manage to fall asleep. The later I woke up, the later it would be by the time I got around to writing, and the less time that left me to write during the day. I skipped yoga one day, and that was it. My whole routine fell apart.

The one thing that creative souls around the world have in common is that they all have to practice to maintain their skills. Art is a vast democracy of habit.

Since writing is my One Thing that I have to do every day, my current routine is stripped down to the bare necessities: wake up, make coffee, write. Eat lunch. Write. It’s working well. Eventually, I’ll tack on something else. Meditation, probably. Then yoga.

Since I made “giving fewer f*cks” one of my resolutions for the year, I figured I should get some insight into how to go about achieving that, so I bought The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck back in January. I finally finished it last night.

What I took from it boils down to this: We’re all going to die, so we might as well be selective about the things we give a f*ck about.

Death is the only thing we can know with any certainty. And as such, it must be the compass by which we orient all of our other values and decisions. It is the correct answer to all of the questions we should ask but never do. The only way to be comfortable with death is to understand and see yourself as something bigger than yourself; to choose values that stretch beyond serving yourself, that are simple and immediate and controllable and tolerant of the chaotic world around you. This is the basic root of all happiness.

This is mostly a book about putting things in perspective so that you don’t make yourself more miserable than necessary.

Not giving a fuck does not mean being indifferent; it means being comfortable with being different.

I don’t know that I’ve ever felt uncomfortable with being different. For me, it’s always been more about giving up the fear of being wrong.

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.”

–Joseph Chilton Pearce

So that’s what I’m working on.

Next book: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil Degrasse Tyson

May you rest in peace, Stephen Hawking  — The world will miss you