What I’m talking about here is this: Is the way to get really good at something simply to do it in a public forum everyday?
You hear the term “do the work” a lot when it comes to creating art. And, in a general sense, I think we all know what that means – or do we? Let’s break this down a little bit.
I started this daily blog almost 3 years ago, making a commitment to myself that I would write something everyday AND MAKE IT PUBLIC. The making it public part is important because your pride is not going to let you phone it in if it’s public. It doesn’t matter if anyone sees it or not, the point is this: They could see it, and it’s got your fucking name on it.
In my case, essentially no one reads this blog – and I’m perfectly fine with that, because it’s not really about other people – it’s for me. But I need the fact looming over my head that it is public, and since it’s on the internet, it lives forever in the cloud, so I have to be OK with anyone reading any of this shit FOREVER. That requires a bit of thought before throwing something up. It also requires that you think carefully about things like how you can best clearly state your thought, how you will structure your sentences, your use of vocabulary, punctuation, spelling, etc.
In other words, writing.
I didn’t see all this when I started, but it’s so clear to me now.
After about two years of writing my blog every day and making it public, I spontaneously started writing fiction. Why? I had never planned on writing fiction, indeed, I never really wanted to write fiction. And yet, it just started flowing out, like my brain was saying get your fucking pen and start writing. This, for me, was a bit of a shock. I’m thinking to myself Where is this coming from?
I think it was ultimately the result of making a commitment to write something everyday and make it public. Something about doing this primed my pump, it developed the neural pathways in my brain ultimately making it very easy for me to write down whatever I thought, because I had been doing it every day for two years – in a public space.
Now is it all good? Who the fuck knows! All I know is that it’s good to me. Something remarkable is happening in my brain, and it’s happening because of this blog that nobody reads.
So is it worth it? Hell yeah! Does that mean if you commit to doing something everyday, in public, that you will eventually (it may take a few years) gain some undeniable facility with it?
I’m going on the record here and say yes.