Advice for myself. Inspired by this. I've also taken a couple of pieces from it.
On the future
"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don't much care where-"
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.
"-so long as I get SOMEWHERE," Alice added as an explanation.
"Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."
-- Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll
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 it's 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 a while. It's normal to take a while. You've just gotta fight your way through.
-- Ira Glass
...time is short, my strength is limited, the office is a horror, the apartment is noisy, and if a pleasant, straightforward life is not possible one must try to wriggle through by subtle maneuvers.
-- Franz Kafka
Working hard at the process and being relaxed about the outcome are not contradictory.
Sometimes I don't understand why my arms don't drop from my body with fatigue, why my brain doesn't melt away... Sometimes, when I am empty, when words don't come, when I find I haven't written a single word after scribbling whole pages, I collapse on my couch and lie there dazed, bogged down in a swap of despair, hating myself and blaming myself for this demented pride that makes me pant after a chimera. A quarter of an hour later, everything has changed. My heart is pounding with joy.
-- Gustave Flaubert
If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until you can hardly bear to look at it.
A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.
-- Roald Dahl
SLIPS ARE TOTALLY NORMAL. WHEN you have a slip, it’s just that. A slip. It doesn’t define you. It doesn’t make you a failure. The most important thing is that you don’t let that slip become a slide.
-- Jennette McCurdy
- Leaving doesn't mean losing. Choosing to not work on a project for your own sanity is worth it. Taking a break is worth it.
- Having opinions and being "controversial" (in most situations) makes you more likable than just trying to cater to the whims of other people. Also, if you have the skills and are an extrovert (bonus points if you're funny) and know what you want, people will naturally gravitate towards you in this world. And we all know that connections = easier time moving up = more success. Just various things I've noticed from watching people who are considered to be more successful than me. (People watcher alert here.)
- Would the person you want to date, want to date you?
- Take your time. "Rome was not built in a day" is so cliche, but only because it's true. Rome can be built in a day, but you'd probably forget about that Rome in no time. Besides, if you're building to just produce "things", there's no value.
- Don't plan too far ahead. You change day by day, so why do you think your plans wouldn't?
- Try it anyways.
- Writing is about expressing oneself, not aesthetics. Don't expect everything to be organized. Sometimes, conveying things in an uneven structure (e.g. bullet lists like this) and using phrases like "things" can be quite effective.
- Side point: If you lose your writing or forget a thought that's okay. You don't need to get every thought down on paper. It may seem inspirational at the moment but if you forget about it, it's clearly not at the top of your priorities for good reasons. Writing all over the place (this blog, my portfolio, Slack, Markright, Notion, Apple Notes, Google Calendar) is okay.
- Give credit where due.
- Don't compare yourself to others in any way, shape, or form. Don't let others get to your innate intuition either.
- You should be living your life! Not someone else's.