There’s a story about Stephen King that I love. He was living in Maine with his wife. He was writing, constantly writing, and teaching school on the side to make ends meet. They were dirt poor. King wrote the entire manuscript for Carrie, hated it, and threw it into the garbage. His wife, when cleaning up one day, fished it out of the trash and read it. She loved it and encouraged Stephen to submit it. He did and it was the first, big, thing that he ever sold.
I’m not 100% sure why that story comes to mind this morning. I don’t have a brilliant manuscript in the trash. In fact, my last “book” – the one before my gayby project – was hilarious for all the wrong reasons. I should’ve left it in the trash. There was about one solid chapter there…and yet, I wrote twenty of them. Ugh.
I think it comes up because I love “success” stories. I love, positive, they were “slugging it out in the mud pile” before they came up with anything resembling a hit. Most of us can relate to that.
I mean, what is blogging if not slugging it out? Everyday, you dig in and try to produce content that has some meaning. You try to find a point or a common chord that will resonate and connect. Some days, I just post anything hoping one person will like it. Sometimes I post things where my blogging wunderkinds (all of you) can serve as an informal testing group. Sometimes I write things just for me.
So, what’s my point here?
I think my point is perseverance. Perseverance, however that manifests for you is well worth it. There’s something noble in the pursuit of doing one thing, consistently, everyday. Whether it be working out, or writing, or filmmaking, or learning a new language, returning to something over and over has value.
Yet, there may be a backlash.
When Wifesy and I started our juice fast way back when, it almost seemed to make some people angry. “You’re not going to eat? What’s wrong with you?” they silently scolded through their furrowed brows.
Christ, it’s not like we said we weren’t going to eat FOREVER. That’s when I realized it – setting a goal and keeping it brings out the vampires in other people. Whenever you set a goal and stick with it, some people are going to get very angry. They’re going to see your commitment as the mirror held up in front of their lack of trying.
I’m not guilt-free in this regard. I remember this one guy, a comedian, who was a health conscious freak. I liked him. He’s a cool cat. BUT, he did always come off slightly uptight to me. Maybe I saw him as uptight because he was regimented, I don’t know. Maybe he WAS just uptight. But, I will say he was committed. Committed to eating well. To make matters more difficult, he was a touring comic, which meant he was on the road most of the year. And yet, he had safe guards built in. For example, he had a book with every Whole Foods in the United States listed in it. That way, if he was in bum-feck Idaho, he could find a Whole Foods within driving distance and save himself from a lifetime of fast food. I can’t even imagine the extra planning that must’ve took. “Let’s see. Get to the town early. Check-in to hotel. Then drive another 50 miles to find the Whole Foods to stock up on healthy foods for the duration of the trip. Drive back to hotel…etc., etc.” In an odd way, I resented Whole Foods guy. I truly did. I thought, “What an a-hole. Here he is making all this money touring and he’s also got to keep entirely fit while on the road? What a jerk.”
What a jerk? Sounds like I was the jerk. Whole Foods was my mirror.
The truth is, I’ve always enjoyed and gravitated towards people who have incredibly strong work ethics. There was the wrestler I just loved in high school because he would jog to school everyday – over a mile – in a plastic suit to make his weight limit. Then he would study so hard that he never went out and almost always fell asleep with a book across his face. Isn’t it interesting that we’re often attracted to (or annoyed by) the people we actually want to be??!!
The whole thing might be easier if we just became who we truly wanted to be. This blog has been a very big lesson in that for me. Do it. And do it everyday. Here, at Sweet Mother, the “doing it” is the writing.
What’s interesting to me is that in the beginning of my goal – some people were actually put off by the fact that I was going to blog everyday. When I missed a day, I actually had one person say, in all seriousness, “Don’t you have to start over? Now that you’ve missed a day?”
Are you kidding me? I’m making the rules here. I ignored the affront, but what I should’ve said was, “Why? Is there some part of YOU that wants to write everyday? If you want to, well, then you should just do it…”
The commitment alone will reap huge benefits.
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