Don't Break the Chain, Don't Break the Chain....!
Patrick and I often like to camp out on the couch, devouring pizza and consuming "Seinfeld" episodes.
I like Jerry's humor, but what I appreciate more is how he manages himself and his creativity.
For more than 40 years, he's practiced Transcendental Meditation which, in an interview with Tim Ferriss that you should definitely check out, has kept him calm and centered in the world of comedy (which, per him, is "designed to kill you").
He also practices a little something called "don't break the chain."
Legend has it that when he was an up-and-coming comedian, he had a giant annual wall calendar. Every day, he'd write a joke and then put a giant red X on that day to denote that that day's work was done.
The visual reinforcement was clear: don't break the chain.
I recently thought about this when I was stumped about posting content for this blog. The last two months of 2022, admittedly, didn’t have me sharing a lot of work on this site. Call it writer’s block, call it life getting in the way, but I wasn’t showing up and doing the work.
I finally had to have a sit-down with myself, re-read The War of Art and realize that, yes, Resistance had me in its evil clutches. Plain and simple.
I was acting like an amateur.
I needed to be a professional.
And I remembered what Seinfeld said about not breaking the chain.
Yes, I needed to do that.
So, in December, I tasked myself with writing one blog entry per day. Just one crappy entry.
My goal was to get it on the page and worry about editing it later (as any writer knows, the hard part is the actual ego-smashing inherent in actually writing; the fun part comes with rewriting and editing).
And for the most part, I've been successful at it. Admittedly, I've broken the chain twice BUT writing some 40-50 blog posts way in advance is better than not writing at all. (Or saving everything for the last minute). Not breaking the chain is teeing up one of my annual goals of publishing at least 52 blog articles by year end.
What I like about this process
Writing a daily rough draft has become routine. I wake up immediately wanting to write just get it over with. The rest of the day is so much easier.
And now that I've established a foundation, I want to see how to go deeper and further to improve my work.
It also makes the act of creation simple. Our brains can overcomplicate things like crazy (or, at least, mine does). We need more simplicity, not less.
And in Seinfeld parlance, that gives me a lot of serenity now.