5 Bad Things I Do, 10 Ways I’m Getting Better

Self-diagnosis of problems has always been one of my core competencies. But finding problems is only worthwhile as a means of finding solutions. Today I’m going to try with five of the worst.

  • Running from stuckness – Is there any more familiar feeling in writing than not knowing what to write next? My instinct when I get stuck is to do anything else–Facebook, coffee refill, Burpees… All wrong. But I’m seeing that there is a pleasure in sitting with stuckness–a difficult pleasure, which is generally the best kind. It’s the feeling of the brain re-arranging in a good way. Going forward I will not only embrace stuckness, but also seek it out.
  • Undervaluing hours. Understanding the value of time–to the point where you base decisions on it–is the highest function of the human brain. I know I’ll never get that last hour back, and I know I’ll never get this one back if I piss it away. Why is this so hard to internalize? I’m fighting this one by disconnecting my internet whenever possible and using Google Calendar.
  • Taking criticism personally. This one is especially hard because, no matter how many times they say not to take it personally, all criticism is personal.  It may not be when it leaves the critic’s mouth or keyboard, but it always is by the time it reaches the end user. I find help here in humility, the unpalatable steamed broccoli of our instincts, and desire for growth, because growth only happens when others tell you what you can do better–even if most of them are idiots, which leads us to:
  • Contempt for the reader. You don’t get my unexplained Hamlet/Re-Animator mixed metaphor? Well **** you then, punk! There is nothing to win feeling smarter, better-read, or anything other than EXTREMELY GRATEFUL towards the people donating their attention to your writing. To this end I’m trying to emphasize communication over cleverness and assume the reader is the smartest person in the room.
  • Spelling “certain” “certian”. I think I spell pretty well, but this one just keeps happening. And I don’t have two solutions for this, so I guess I overpromised in the headline. I won’t do that again.

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