A Writer’s Disposition

We’re odd ducks, black sheep, misfits, and instigators. We wakeup early or stay up late. Our rituals are sacred uninterrupted time, in which for a brief window we see ourselves having something important to say, something that the world needs to hear. For us, these rituals are like brushing teeth to other people. If we don’t follow our rituals, something feels off the entire day.

We have specific notebooks and specific pens that we write with. These notebooks contain the stories and chapters of our lives. And losing notebooks is worse than losing the wallet. Our chicken scratch, delusions and wild eyed dreams are priceless. My friend AJ Leon once said “always carry a notebook.” When we lose our notebooks it creates a tremendous sense of anxiety, because with them we lose the dreams they contain.

To a writer his notebooks are worth far more than the pages they’re printed on.

We’re wild eyed dreamers with a healthy disregard for the impossible, and the willingness to go as far as we can get or die trying. Our pathological inability to accept the status quo is normal in this line of work. If it goes untreated for long enough, there’s no going back.

Everything is material

  • Heartbroken? Material
  • A Friend says something brilliant? Material
  • Some jackass sends you an email criticizing you? Material

One of the occupational hazards of being a writer is that everything and everyone in your life as at the risk of becoming material in your work. The pages of our notebooks are painted with grief and joy, love and heartache.

  • Football players leave it all on the field.
  • Basketball players leave it all on the court.
  • Writers leave it all on the page.
Our notebooks give us a place to store our deepest darkest secrets, a closet for our skeletons.

Sometimes our pages serve as a mirror of our flaws, our insecurities and even our greatness. Ex girlfriends, family members, and close friends are all fair game. As many writers have said before, try not to screw writer’s over. You might regret it.

We appreciate words the way painters appreciate colors. Our version of hell is one in which there are no books and we don’t get to write. The best gifts I’ve ever received are books and writing tools. If somebody gave me a choice between 20 moleskines and an Apple Watch, I’d take the notebooks.

Writers see books differently than other people. We gaze at the covers, feel the pages and let the sentences soak into our soul.

We imagine the people who wrote them, having flashes of brilliance and insight:

  • When I read Donald Miller’s books, I imagine him sitting in his toolshed that he mentioned in our recent interview.
  • When I read The War of Art, I imagine Steven Pressfield kicking the ass of resistance everyday.

Our instinct is to produce. Good words, bad words, shitty first drafts. It doesn’t really matter. We furiously scribble, sketch and type. We use words to craft sentences hoping to delight ourselves the way a child does when he builds something out of legos. If we can’t delight ourselves with our work, how could we delight our readers.

1000 words a day. A million words in 5 years. And these are just a few of the conclusions, I’ll spend a lifetime drawing conclusions about a writer’s disposition.