People sometimes compliment me on how much I read. I tell them: “That’s all I do.”
Some people compliment me on how much I write. I tell them: “That’s all I do.”
Some people compliment me on how often I teach. I say, “That’s all I do.”
Reading, writing and teaching. Those are the things that I love.
My activities are fairly narrow. That’s on purpose. I have zero desire to be a generalist. A jack of all trades. I simply want to be the best writer in the world.
And that’s not hyperbole. It’s truth.
Do I think I can do it? Not really. There is a bit of luck that comes with being the best. But that luck is meaningless if you are not prepared. I’m willing to give it a shot.
That means a purposeful and planned neglect of everything except writing. And that kind of ambition demands discipline. Relentless training. Cartloads of sacrifice.
I try to read one book a day. Write one thousand words a day. That means no television. No video games. No movies. No basketball.
I don’t garden or build furniture or remodel bathrooms. I read, write and teach. And run.
When I’m not reading or writing or teaching try to be with people I love. Playing with my children. Being as silly as I could possibly be. Or I’m with my wife–trying to do something she loves. Or I’m with my friends–men who are infinitely smarter than I am.
I have to be purposeful in being present when I am with my wife or children or friends. My mind is working constantly. On a story. A post. Working out the calculus of my craft.
It is selfish but everything is geared towards the life of being a writer. It’s a Spartan life. Not for everyone. But one I enjoy.
How long do I plan to keep this up? Until it is over. When is it over? When I die. That is my retirement plan. Until then, it is a purposeful and planned neglect of everything but writing.
And get this: I’m not doing this for self glory. I’m doing this to acknowledge the gift I’ve been given. To show my gratitude that I’ve been entrusted with a unique ability. And the best way I know to show that gratitude is to write with all my might.
Now it’s your turn. Do you have a mantra? Manifesto? What are your ambitions? Please share.