Staying Fresh Means Staying Dangerous
Accomplishing anything worthwhile requires discomfort.
I just got off the phone with someone who has been in the advertising world for a long time.
His #1 tip: Do not write safe
Nobody wants safe.
This is why action movies and video games sell so well, because we imagine some alternate universe where we can be brave.
Every once in awhile I realize that I have built walls of safety around myself, my schedule, and worst of all, my writing.
Safe writing is for amateurs.
Safe writing is for people who schedule their sex, wear clothes that are all varying shades of grey, and would never dare talk to a felon although they never miss an episode of Orange is the New Black.
The thing that most people don’t talk about when it comes to success through creativity, is that one must not only create bold work, but also live life on the edges. Look at Hemingway, Fitzgerald, or Stephen King. If you study their lives, you can see a direct impact on their storytelling.
Some of my best writing work came around the period in my life where I was busy being rowdy in mosh pits, going into the sketchiest bars in town, and climbing mountains in the sunken dark of night.
One day you wake up and realize you’ve had the same routine for far too many months, you talk to the same people, you have the same conversations, you watch the same TV shows, and feel like you’re continuously trapped in some horribly-directed sequel of Groundhog Day.
Why do we insist on living safe after a certain age? What’s so wrong with a little danger?
Some might scream, “BUT YOU COULD DIE!” That’s true, but you could also get rear-ended by a bus on the way to your safe job tomorrow, as well.
Death is unavoidable, so you might as well go out blazing.
Most of my clients come to me for copywriting advice after 30+ years in corporate America because they feel like they lost their “voice”, that rebellious fire inside that made them say something from the heart.
This is what happens on the safe, well-trodden path.
The good news is that anyone can decide to change their life.
This doesn’t mean you run around screaming profanities and jumping out of planes (although that sounds kind of fun), it means making a stand against monotony. Deciding what YOU like and DOING that thing.
You know who else wasn’t afraid to draw the line in the sand? Gandhi. Martin Luther King Jr. Malcom X.
Staying dangerous is not the same thing has participating in the circle jerk that is outrage porn. (For those who don’t know, outrage porn is basically any time someone is offended on the internet and creates a click-bait title to make you just as outraged as they are.)
Outrage porn is all over the internet. People are always so damn offended by everything, but how many of them actually do anything about it?
Thinking and tweeting dangerously means nothing.
Getting outside your safe little bubble is the only way to live.
And it’s damn sure the only way to write.