Every writer’s advice is not to wait for inspiration or motivation to strike, but to write every day. Giddens Ko, the writer of the book turned film, You Are The Apple of My Eye said that he has been habitually writing five thousand words a day since he started writing in college.
The book he wrote was a sort of biography where he told the story of him and his best male friends becoming deeply interested in the same girl. Though the movie premiered in 2011, I saw it only recently. It isn’t exactly deep, but it was fun and brought back many high school memories.
The most interesting thing about the movie was that it was Giddens’ first and it was a movie based on his book; a book he produced from his daily habit of five thousand words a day.
Daily Habits = What We Become
Most of us believe that we should wait for the right moment to start something. I suppose it makes sense. Why should we risk embarrassing ourselves by making mistakes?
Only one reason: because making mistakes is the only way we get better.
I know, easier said than done.
There is an inner resistance when it comes to doing anything new, and especially something you think people would be especially critical about. So instead of doing anything about our crazy dreams, we hide and wait for other people to do it.
And when they do, we become jealous monsters, super critical about their every move.
Like this one guy I know who only talks about his great business ideas but never gets around to doing anything about them. My high school history teacher calls this the N.A.T.O. (No Action, Talk Only).
The thing is, not only does he not want to work on his ideas, he is also especially critical of people who do. He will often say things like, ‘He’s only successful because he gave some undertable money. I would never do that’, or ‘Anyone with that kind of opportunity is bound to be successful. He doesn’t even need to work hard.’
Of course, these are only excuses to make himself feel better for not doing anything about his own ideas. It doesn’t only happen to businesses, it happens to anything and everything else.
Like when you have always wanted to have a six pack and never did get it, you might become overly critical about people who do.
‘If I didn’t have a family to take care of like him, I would also be able to get a six pack.’
‘You think having muscles means you are healthy? Think again man. I would rather be healthy than not healthy like you. Six packs are not worth sacrificing my health for.’
If it doesn’t bother you, you wouldn’t be so critical, would you?
99 Years Old and Dying
Last night I was watching a Casey Neistat vlog about Snapchat murdering Facebook (watch it here). In it, Jerome Jarre gathers hundreds of people to a place in a matter of minutes using Snapchat.
But it’s not Snapchat that I want to talk about. It’s Jerome.
Jerome Jarre is the first Snapchat celebrity, amassing 7 million followers. But he started off with posting short videos on Vine. He did it after starting his own companies and failing at some of them. But he started his companies because his friend asked him,
Just imagine Jerome, you’re 99 years old and you’re on your deathbed, all of a sudden you have the chance to come back to right now, what would you do?
What would you do?
I’ve been thinking a lot about questions like these lately (especially since I burned out). I realise that all I want to do is to create things – anything – that people can experience joy or inspiration from.
My biggest problem is that I am too serious, and seriousness is not a language people can digest very easily.
1,000 Words a Day & More
So lately I’ve been trying really hard to learn from people who can speak in a language that everyone can understand and enjoy.
And I’ve been trying to do this everyday because I realise that right now, I’m really bad at it. I’ll need a lot of practice.
I even started a book project with a very interesting friend of mine to get more writing done (more details about this soon!).
The writer Ryan Holiday says that to get good at something, you need to do it a lot.
The problem is that most of us worry too much about the results and choose instead to do nothing at all. I mean, doing nothing is the only way we will never be criticised, right?
But then, the price to pay for avoiding criticism is too high. We can sacrifice our entire life’s creations for the fear of being criticised.
That’s not a good way to live, is it?
I quote a quote from Ryan’s essay:
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste.
But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you.
A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have.
We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.
It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.
Follow your dreams, one day at a time
Too many people have too many excuses for postponing their dreams. Too little time, too little money, not talented enough…
Today, I want you to know that your dreams might feel big and scary right now, especially if you haven’t started. But all it takes is a daily practice.
If you want to be good at something, the first stage is always lots and lots of practice. Forget about the quality of your work. Like a little girl trying to learn to write alphabets for the first time, it is much better for her to write her ABCs over and over again everyday, making small improvements along the way than to try to write like an adult.