Bonfire Night

Minor Thoughts & Trying to Figure Everything Out

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Minor Thoughts & Trying to Figure Everything Out

It is very late on a Sunday night. I’m tired but I want to write. I want to write something good. I don’t want to merely churn out something formulaic that would satisfy the daily word counter.

My expected goal is ~8,300 words, and I’m far behind that. Sure, I have plenty of time to catch up, but that’s the last thing I want to do. As I’ve written before, momentum goes in one of two directions. The inertia you create for yourself is either slowing you down or speeding you up. By being behind the needed word count, I’m fighting an uphill battle.

Of course, I’ll try my best regardless! It’s far better to get something done rather than get nothing done. Anything is better than nothing. So let’s get started.

The difficulty comes from the difference between marathoning fiction writing and nonfiction writing, and the access to ideas. Theoretically, you could have new ideas for fiction writing each day, and subsequently keep going indefinitely.

However, good nonfiction writing needs something external. Research, analysis, and experimentation. There are topics that I’m passionate about, such as user-interface design, but I’m nowhere near knowledgeable to actually write an entire post about the matter. I barely managed to write out an article on CSS.

My rebel-version of NaNoWriMo means that each day, I need to create a self-contained and standalone. In reality, this means that each day needs its own entire process behind it. Whereas a novel is, by definition, a series that happens to the characters within it. This isn’t to say that fiction writing is easier — on the contrary. Good fiction needs to draw from real life and other previous works in a similar manner, but the author is still more the central creator.

By the fifth day of this, it can be tempting to start slowing down. To stop writing and publishing a different article daily and instead take pause in order to release higher-quality work on a slower basis. But I think that defeats the point entirely. You’re supposed to write, not write good. Put yourself out there and actually start.

Voids & Risks

Your mind feeds you rational doubt whenever you push yourself into uncomfortable and difficult territory. A lot of the time, we give in to that. It’s far easier to slide back into your comfort zone than to push through. The truth is that there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t think you need to be daring and bold to find happiness in life. People that reckless plunge into things (like this) perhaps are trying to fill a void within.

I think that’s ultimately what separates people who are content with a simple life, and people who bellyflop into risk — a void. You have to be hungry and foolish in order to sacrifice what you already have for the chance at something more. You can’t change the world if you’re willing to settle. You can’t make a dent in the universe if you’re already happy with everything you have.

This is something I have difficulty with. I try my best to be grateful and happy each day — the difficult part is developing an intense drive without becoming miserable and envious. Those emotions go hand-in-hand. I have to think people that worked their asses off constantly did it because they cared about what other people thought of them, on some level.

In life, I feel like there are days that rush by me. When I get too comfortable in a particular rhythm of habits, and things become predictable. The less novelty that needs to be focused on, the less we really sink our teeth into the present moment — autopilot kicks in. When I have time to take a step back from this monotonous busyness, I realize how dangerous it is.

Time and attention are the currencies of life, don’t waste any of it.

It’s not all or nothing, either — there are levels of risk and reward. Do something small but uncomfortable and you’ll get a small but satisfying reward. But I still doubt that the small stuff is really doing anything.

Let’s look at this another way:

If I were to live 100 times, would I change the world significantly in any of those lifetimes?

While it’s interesting to ponder such a question, it’s irrelevant. I don’t get one hundred tries at this. Nobody does. There’s only one shot to get it right. And I have to start aiming better.

Current Word Count: 7,435