There’s a scene I’ll never forget in EarthBound where you have to push through a crowd of people to get somewhere. Some let you go peacefully; others fight you. This scene happens often in life. If you want to use the restroom at a crowded concert, you’ll have to figure out how to navigate crowds. This is the same for doing anything in life. Just stand there and wallow in your discomforts or push through!
While reading 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters, hurtling myself toward 1,000 essays published over the past 3+ years on Better Zombie, I’ve thought about how much of those “habits” are things you learn as you write. This website started as an experiment. Maybe something to do occasionally. It just kept gaining momentum. Not in terms of monetary compensation. Other than one essay netting me a $40 voucher, I haven’t made a cent here, and I’m happy about that.
“I never read…!” “I just read one page at a time.” “I can never find the time…!” “I read right when I wake up, so I get it out of the way.” “I just can never find the time…” Along with scheduling the time to read, having dedicated space and specific reading plans are important for reading success. Since I tend to adapt to certain environments, if I have a space for reading, I’ll read.
“I hope you do something nice for yourself. Other than reading, writing, or rowing.” “I was thinking of drinking an unhealthy amount of energy drinks. Otherwise, I had thought of doing things in Seattle or elsewhere, but nothing was appealing. ” I had been anticipating my birthday for a few weeks. I wanted to prepare myself to do whatever I wanted when I woke up. Explore the city on a nice summer day? Or do nothing?
“What’d you do over your birthday?” “Just hung out with the wife. Did what I wanted to do all weekend, basically.” “That’s great. Our birthdays are the only day where we can be autonomous and really celebrate ourselves. The rest of the year, we’ve gotta give our autonomy over to others.” “I hadn’t really thought of it like that, but you’re right.” This essay publishes on my birthday; what will I do on this day?
“Home is where you can be you.” “There’s the quote.” “Yeah.[1,2,3]” Part of this extended process of detaching from my home I’ve built up over the course of seven years has been to learn to become more comfortable being “me” while abroad. My social anxiety is when I’m too focused on keeping my mask on, being a certain way, or having to be concerned with how my persona is perceived. Instead, just be you everywhere.
How do you balance your professional work with your personal work? Do you shelve your personal work when things get professionally hectic? Do you take a “personal day” off from your professional work to catch up on your personal work? For me, writing is my one true goal, so I must do it daily. There are no compromises. Writing for other people used to count toward my goals. Not anymore! I work for myself daily.
Critiques on your work shouldn’t manifest in your mind as bruises. The redlines may feel like cuts against your writing. The comments may seem like scars. These are just your insecurities. Those same insecurities will coax you into skipping social events or embarrass you with memories of mistakes. Rather than silencing that internal critic of yours, calm yourself down, then get in that document, familiarize yourself with the edits, make the changes, and then proceed.
I realized a problem with my writing: I’ve reached a soft limit of how I can communicate. There’s a lot to unpack, so let’s analogize with my cheap “pawn shop special” bass: it fulfills all my limited needs when it comes to learning the basics. I can pluck strings and learn chord progression. I don’t mind tuning it whenever I’m serious about playing it. Now if I wanted to play with others or even professionally…
Oops! Forgot about publishing this. Well, plenty has changed over the past 13 weeks and 92 publications. I originally made these “Betzom check-ins” primarily to comment on how I’ve evolved as a writer, with a slight convenience being something easy to write about. These past 92 days have seen my biggest launching in success yet, and I’m only poised to go succeed more from here… so much so that I didn’t even need the crutch of this essay.