On Being a “Writer” (part 14: Fucking Up & Flying)

So…I’ve gotten out of the habit of writing daily. Actually, I’m going to put it this way: I’ve made the habit of doing other things instead of writing. As an artist, entrepreneur, or person on this planet (well, I recently read The Martian, so perhaps not only this planet), these occasional, intentional drifts are good–if not necessary–for your creative development. You need to have a life in order to appreciate your success as much as you need success to support your life.

At the beginning of this month my fiancé and I moved into a new apartment. We will be married in two short weeks. Amidst the miraculous madness, I have learned to drive stick shift and have begun to fly planes. This doesn’t sound like fucking up, to me. True, I haven’t been focused on writing, but the other parts of life have won my time and have been worthy of it.

I’ve learned an incredible amount of new things in a short amount of time. A major takeaway from this experience is: when the going gets tough, I continue to challenge myself. I can see how it’s difficult to imagine how that makes sense. It might feel more comfortable to take it easy when things seem stressful, but that’s a surefire way to shortchange yourself.

This is what I mean when I say some healthy distractions are important to success. Yes, it’s been tough for me to write lately. Instead of getting wound up about it and hiding under the bedcovers, I got up, switched gears, and put in a few hours learning to fly. If you go back to my original goal of writing every day, that seems like a major distraction, but the experience of tackling new skills and challenging myself in other, exhilarating ways brought me back to writing today.