2.23.18 - 5004 Cody ~ 7:25 PM MT
Sitting down to write twice in one day, wow! Maybe Pressfield is making an impression on me. As I joke, it’s kind of true. His distinction of a professional and an amateur is incisively honest and accurate. As an amateur writer, I dedicate small portions of my day (sometimes no time of the day!) to doing something I say I want to do for a living. Pressfield also defends us writers as he says the most difficult thing to do is to just sit down and write.
He explains that the amateur: takes things personally; expects epochs the size of Homer’s Odyssey to drop into their mind and ooze out of your fingertips in some perfect, opportune arrival of immense inspiration; and clings too much to the judgment of his/her work. The professional for Pressfield: learns to separate themselves from their work, creating a thick skin, seating their criticisms in a space separate from their ego; has a regimen where they sit down everyday, rain or shine, inspiration or no inspiration and writes. This is so that when a moment of real inspiration hits, the writer has been at it, honing their technique, to now where they can lay it down as it comes. The amateur waits on inspiration to strike, the professional writes through it.
It is very hard for me to keep at it, given my history of complacency and litany of instantaneous gratification and distraction that lay around every corner. It is nearly impossible for me to stay focused when I have a phone that flickers every two seconds and a computer that grants me access to any piece of entertainment I can think of (all for free to boot). Living in the 21st century enables most of us in the western world to live at a level of luxury never before seen my humans—we can essentially get anything delivered to our doorstep with the click of a button. We live like kings!
Yet we feel like serfs. We feel like nothing is truly satisfying and we bury our discomfort deeper into the meaningless abyss of consumption. We turn our attention to products and entertainment rather than inwards because the passive approach is easier. In a country that is run by convenience there is nothing convenient about engaging with the unhappiness that lurks in your mind while you wait in the drive-thru line at McDonalds or skip the intro to continue your binge session on Netflix. When the inconvenience of the complexity of our minds comes to the forefront we find a way to conveniently drown it out. There is no time for self-reflection in a time of instantaneous satisfaction. We feel like serfs even though we have the world at our fingertips.
Even now I have an itch to go out, an itch to watch porn, an itch to throw a movie on and cook popcorn. Pressfield would call these urges ‘resistance,’ and I suppose that it is. The progress of technology has subverted our attention spans, decreasing the value of a moment down to a swipe of the screen. Time itself changes meaning over time; when I was a kid the phrase was “time is money,” and perhaps that’s still true, but I would now say, “time is empty.”
Time has been reduced to the passing of it—I still don’t get how people can be bored. When I say that time is empty I mean that we’d rather fill it up with the consumption of meaningless information than sit and watch the seconds pass like we’re back in grade school watching the clock, waiting for the bell to ring. **UPDATE** just got back from watching meaningless videos for like an hour. Time travel is possible everyone, and I’m not talking getting black out drunk, I’m talking turning your mind off to passively spend time.