0661 – make books a part of your life again

And now we’re on to the third and final vomit of the day. It’s 1210am on a Sunday morning. And I have to admit this feels good. It feels good to get something out of the way. I could make this my life’s mission – to do things early and get them out of the way. Because I never did that when I was a child. I always chose the dark playground first. Which you can never fully enjoy either because you know that you have work in the back of your mind. And I always told myself, “But there will always be more work!” And it’s true. I’ve written 2 vomits, and I’m about to write a 3rd, and there will still be 339 word vomits left to write after I’m done with this. And yet. And yet I’m already starting to feel a little better inside. I’m starting to feel “hey I can do this”, “hey I’m a good person for looking out for myself and my goals”. I don’t yet deserve to slack off for the rest of the day – after this I think I’m going to hit the gym to , and then I’m going to get started on some real work.

The point that I want to internalise is this – you don’t need to get everything done in order to feel good about yourself. You just need to have done enough for the day. And your subconscious does seem to generally be smart enough to know what is ‘enough for the day’. You can reevaluate and modify your idea about what is ‘enough’ later on, but in the interim, you do physically, in your body, know the difference between a day well spent and a day not. And it’s really only about 4 hours of work, I believe. But those 4 hours have to be focused, un-distracted, applied hard and heavy towards the things that matter.

This is still counter-intuitive to me despite me reflecting on it over and over again. I started writing my first vomit today at 1130 am. It’s now 1215am. It’s been 45 minutes. So it seems I’m averaging about 20 minutes per vomit. That means I’m committing myself to an hour a day. Is that a big commitment? It seems reasonable, considering the amount of time I usually spend dicking around on the internet everyday – that’s probably about 2 hours a day at least. A bunch of it is spent on commutes, which seems reasonable, but that time could really be spent reading. I know that reading books is kind of energising, and reading social media is kind of exhausting. So I think I should really change my behaviour on that front. Now that’s a 4th principle waiting to happen. What are the principles again?

* Publish 3 word vomits every day to demonstrate your commitment to yourself as a serious writer
* Publish these first thing in the morning so you aren’t worried about them for the rest of the day, and so you can sleep early
* Sleep early because being cognitively alert is great, and early mornings rule (good for writing!)

The 4th one would be – when you’re commuting, make sure you’re either reading or writing. In an ‘extreme’ case, if I write 3 word vomits in the morning, then write 1 on the way to work and 1 on the way home, that’s 5 word vomits per weekday. That’s maybe a bit much. I don’t know. Let’s stick to 3 for now and keep it going for a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I also want to think about my reading habits. I have like a hundred books in my study – probably more. Almost definitely more. And I want to read almost all of them. This reading is not happening. So what is going on here? Do I want to read, or do I just want to want to read? Well I picked up a couple of books a couple of days ago with the intent of getting rid of them, and before I got rid of them I felt that it was only fair to just riff through them a little – and in the process of that riffing I found them fascinating and I really wanted to read them all the way through. (Letters to Thinkers, and the Letters of Vincent Van Gogh – both books that I thought I’d be quite comfortable getting rid of).

If I were really forced to get rid of them, I would, but otherwise I suppose I like having them around as some sort of indefinite option. “If I ever feel like reading Van Gogh’s letters…” – but that feeling has not come to me randomly since I got the book,w probably about 5 or 6 years ago. Why? Because I do not make time to read. It’s funny. If I go to the library, I’m quite likely to pick up a whole bunch of books and then try to start reading all of them at once – and ultimately be foiled because there simply isn’t enough time. At some point I racked up a massive library fine (well massive for when I was a teenager – about $30. I paid it since) and I could no longer borrow new books. And even now the idea of going to a library to borrow books feels a bit indulgent or silly, knowing that I have so many books at home.

But I used to have books at home AND library books, and the great thing about library books were the deadlines – you’d have to return them or pay a fine. So there was an urgency involved with library books. Books you own feel different. They’re old souls that you can get comfortable with over years and years. But I haven’t accumulated the books in my home library through slow and careful consideration. I bought a ton of them at a library book sale for $2 each, and other similar events. There’s a place near my parents’ where people simply leave old books for others to take. I’ve taken a bunch. I used to almost always take something overtime I visited, and it was one of the things I looked forward to when visiting.

I guess I’m starting to get a glimpse of what my life is like without social media and constant internet urgency. I do miss a life of reading books. There’s sort of depth that you lose yourself into when reading books that isn’t quite the same when you’re opening 20 tabs in chrome or swiping on your phone. There’s something about that physical action of sitting with a book that I really enjoyed. And I’m going to make more time for it. Should I make time for it today? Well – since I’ve already written my 3 word vomits for the morning in the morning, I suppose I could read in bed tonight before going to sleep. That sounds like a wonderful plan.

* write 3 word vomits first thing in the morning
* sleep early
* read a book before sleeping

Let’s keep this simple for now.

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