“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
— Mark Twain
This quote resurfaced in an article from 2014 that was shared by my friend and fellow author Michael Ripplinger. The article itself, The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna is an excellent read, and worth spending some time with before the start of a new year—especially if you sit on the cusp of following a dream and you find yourself terrified.
❄️ 💀 ❄️
My friend Emily shared this Blank on Blank and, after watching it, I knew I’d need to post it here. Some wonderful and amazing thoughts from David Bowie. I especially like his reasoning around art and audience and the artist’s relationship to their work. Watch it below.
“You should turn around at the end of the day and say I really like that piece of work or that piece of work sucked. Not, was that popular or wasn’t it popular?”
Rest in peace, Mr. Bowie. Thanks for being one of the good ones.
In 1943, American folk legend, Woody Guthrie wrote down a list of promises he wanted to keep for a good year. Not unlike the New Year’s resolutions people make today. The list is an interesting read, and I have a few observations. But first, check it out:
Click the Image to View It Larger
Here’s the full list:
- Work more and better
- Work by a schedule
- Wash teeth if any
- Take bath
- Eat good — fruit — vegetables — milk
- Drink very scant if any
- Write a song a day
- Wear clean clothes — look good
- Shine shoes
- Change socks
- Change bed cloths often
- Read lots good books
- Listen to radio a lot
- Learn people better
- Keep rancho clean
- Dont get lonesome
- Stay glad
- Keep hoping machine running
- Dream good
- Bank all extra money
- Save dough
- Have company but dont waste time
- Send Mary and kids money
- Play and sing good
- Dance better
- Help win war — beat fascism
- Love mama
- Love papa
- Love Pete
- Love everybody
- Make up your mind
- Wake up and fight
I am sure Guthrie never meant any of us to see this list. It’s intently personal and covers things like simple hygiene, financial decisions, and maintaining family relationships. However, I found it interesting how even Guthrie, who was a musical genius who inspired a generation of folk singers, has to encourage himself in his art. We can see how he wants to keep working hard, how he wants to continue to improve his craft. He mentions working on a schedule and staying productive. This from the father of folk music.
Many creatives struggle and get depressed when they see someone else celebrating their victories. Why does it seem so easy for them, but so hard for ourselves? We wonder why we can’t get something done or why it feels so difficult. But the truth of the matter is its hard for everyone. Even a genius like Guthrie struggled. We can see it in this list.
I think my favorite “rulin” is also some the most important advice we can take from this list and I believe it was the reason Guthrie was so successful with his music. Number thirty-three: wake up and fight. Every day.
“Even if what you’re working on doesn’t go anywhere, it will help you with the next thing you’re doing. Make yourself available for something to happen. Give it a shot.”
Sadly, life conspired against me this week and there will be no Friday Link Pack for today. Sorry about that folks. We should be back next week. In the meantime enjoy this quote and if you’re really jonesing for some links check out some of the previous Link Packs.
Tomorrow is the beginning of the summer session of National Novel Writing Month: Camp NaNoWriMo! If you’re new to writing or just want to try out the lifestyle, I highly encourage you to attempt a NaNoWriMo at least once. It’s a fascinating experience. It’ll help you discover your creative process and understand how you work as a writer.
Since the kickoff is tomorrow, I figured it’d be helpful to share some of my previous NaNoWriMo posts with everyone. Hopefully, you can glean something useful from my advice.
- NaNoWriMo Is Here
I offer a few simple steps to getting your writing project complete, from spending time researching, to actully writing those 1700 words a day, to getting involved in the NaNoWriMo community.
- NaNoWriMo Cometh – Four Early Tips To Enhance Your Novel Writing
While most of these require some preparation ahead of time, I find that these four tips are very helpful in aiding any author. I have four every single one of these critical to my own success.
and when you’re done…
- NaNoWriMo Is Over, Now What?
Save this one until August 1st. I break down some thoughts on where you can take that freshly finished manuscript.
Oh, since you’re starting out, do yourself a favor and watch this video. It’s still the best (and most encouraging) little videos for anyone starting something new. (It’s also a bit NSFW, so consider yourself warned.)
Good luck campers! Have fun, we’ll all be here on the other side ready and excited to read your finished masterpieces.