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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why Justine Musk's blog Tribal Writer is such a must-read for me

This post. And pretty much every other one. Seriously. I only wish I were brave enough to go there. I'm so tired of the cycles of hatred, doubt, fear, envy that not just cycle through my head but lead directly, do not pass go style, to failure. I don't blog about the epic fails because I want to look successful, on the off chance anyone powerful is watching me and might think, "Hey, she'd be good for..." I don't want to be the fail girl, but she is me and I am her. Not forever though. Still, we are inextricably linked. I've always taken the easier way out and once you start on that path it seems easier, even when deep down you know better.

I am trying to dig my way out of the giant seemingly bottomless hole, one fucking word at a time. 2009 and 2010 and much of 2011-so-far were ruled by fear, by what-would-whoever-think, by no-way-in-hell-do-I-deserve it. So because I didn't think I deserved anything, I made it such that I didn't. I was so convinced it was true and now I am literally grateful for every word. For the winnowing, for the ideas, for the moment when I know it works. Not that it's perfect or even good, but that it works, whatever it is. Now I could care less what anyone thinks. Except me.

Rushing to get two anthologies closed and to make time, real time, for the big project I want to do. Not the big project anyone else wants me to do - been there, will never do that again. The project I like, that maybe I'll self-publish, or whatever. That's like when I was young and naive and worried about passing the fucking bar before I realized I was flunking out of school. No more. Now it's just the words, for me, selfish, the way it should be. Maybe someday I will get to share them, but first, I have to produce them. And that is the scariest thing ever, still, but I want to push through that fear.

From Justine Musk:

This is what’s known as deliberate practice. It’s not enough that you log a minimum of ten thousand hours at your chosen craft to get truly good at it…because your practice cannot be half-assed. It has to keep you at the very edge of your ability, which means that you’re falling on your ass, making mistakes and failing. But the important thing is that you’re failing forward. The brain learns through mistakes — mistakes force it to stop and evaluate, to pay serious attention, and think its way through what it’s doing. That added intensity of consciousness encodes those actions into your grey matter and carries you farther through the Dip.

The thing about deliberate practice is — it’s uncomfortable.

Anything that pushes us past our comfort zone is going to make us uncomfortable — whether it’s trying something new, taking it to the next level, or exposing ourselves to painful but much needed constructive criticism.

Which is why Nick advises aspiring creative types to get comfortable with discomfort.

Learn to love discomfort.

Discomfort is the price — and sign — of growth.

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