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April 14, 2017

Edit More

Some movies come together in the editing room. Most books come together with the help of skilled editors. And as flawed humans, it’s sometimes necessary to make edits of our own.

You can edit your health with new habits.

You can edit your career path with new skills.

You can edit your outlook with a good book.

You can edit your convictions with some self-reflection.

Edit more. You’re something good that’s coming together.

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March 13, 2017

Spend More Time Reading

Read books.

Let rich stories sink in. Let different viewpoints strengthen your empathy. Let the expertise of others improve your skills. Let a challenging viewpoint shed light on your prejudices. Let their lessons enrich your experience.

A life without books dulls the mind and clouds perspective.

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I developed a habit of flossing everyday when my dentist showed me a zoomed in shot of my teeth after extended periods of not flossing (ew).

I developed a habit of tracking my finances everyday when my wife expressed concern over marrying me with $17,000 in student loans hanging over my head.

I developed a habit of writing code everyday when my first job out of college wasn’t nearly as satisfying as I’d hoped and the pay sucked.

I developed a habit of writing everyday when I realized that I wasn’t able to articulate my thoughts as well as I’d like and I couldn’t go another year without starting a book.

The most effective way to start something new is to encounter a problem that surpasses your desire to procrastinate. If you haven’t started that project or kicked that bad habit, maybe your problem isn’t quite understood yet.

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February 2, 2017

How to Make Time for Writing

Make time for nothing else. Avoid all other commitments. Notify your friends and family that you’ll be needing anywhere from thirty minutes to seven hours each day to finish a suitable piece of writing. Try not eating. Consider sleeping less. Accept that you will never again have time to maintain your current level of fitness. Before you go to sleep each night, place a pen and paper beside your bed, then head back to your desk to resume writing on your laptop like a modern human. If writing isn’t your day job, quit so you can focus on writing. If you must go out to a social engagement such as a funeral or a date, bring along your laptop so you can get your writing done. Speaking of funerals, don’t die. You won’t be able to write if you’re dead.

Okay, maybe don’t take that advice, but damn, writing is hard.

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January 12, 2017

Old songs

Today, I listened to some old songs.

“So Cold” by Breaking Benjamin. I’m back in my friend’s truck in the Wal-Mart parking lot, because that’s what kids do in Brookhaven, MS on a Friday night.

“Back Burner” by August Burns Red. I’m back in my friend’s dorm room listening to metalcore for the first time. I hate it. Just give it time, Brian.

“The Outsider” by A Perfect Circle. I’m back in my best friend’s truck. This is it. This is the last song I need to listen to.

“Godspeed” by Anberlin. I’m back at my first concert. I jump up and down when the singer tells me to, but no one else does, so I’m embarrassed.

“Assistant to the Regional Manager” by The Devil Wears Prada. I’m back driving home from college and listening to a band with a terrible name that the heavy music friend recommended. Ok, I like this.

“15 Step” by Radiohead. I’m back in the car with the singer of the band I’m in. He says, “you aren’t gonna start writing music like this (crap), are you?”

“Last Train Home” by lostprophets. I’m back in my friend’s attic showing him how to play that cool drum part in the bridge. Side note—the lostprophets singer is totally a child molester now. Let’s move on.

“Moving for the Sake of Motion” by Underoath. I’m back working at my dad’s factory warehouse, filling bottles of paint alone. But this song is sick, so it’s ok.

“Labyrinthian” by Misery Signals. I’m back driving home from a concert with my best friend and damn I immediately love this.

“Wish You Were Here” by Incubus. I’m back in my bedroom, listening to the first CD I ever bought. I only want this music playing at all times of the day.

“Fixation on the Darkness” by Killswitch Engage. I’m back in my bedroom and hell yes. I will only play that opening riff on guitar and never learn anything else.

“Deception of Strongholds” by Arise and Conquer. I’m back in my friend’s dorm room and that solo still gives me the smiles.

“Enter Sandman” by Metallica. I’m back in the car with my older sister. I like this song. She gives me the look that says, “you’re going directly to hell.”

“End of Heartache”, also by Killswitch Engage. I’m back in the shed in my backyard. I show this song to my best friend. He sits quietly for a moment, then accepts that he will never love a song as much as the song he’s listening to now. Since it’s the 5th song on my mix CD, we henceforth call it “Number 5” for the next 13 years.

“Believe It or Not” by Nickelback. I’m back sitting in the Sonic parking lot with my friend. We think this song is awesome. I come back to present day, and forgive myself.

“Speeding Cars” by Imogen Heap. I’m back in the backseat of a girl’s car. The girl I like is in the passenger seat, and I can’t think of anything cool to say (and still haven’t).

“Crawling” by Linkin Park. I’m back in my bedroom. My parents aren’t home. I feel like I’ll get in trouble for listening to this, but I need this music in my life.

“Determined” by Mudvayne. I’m back in my bedroom. I will definitely get in trouble for listening to this. Don’t care. I’m angsty and I like how he screams those bad words.

“Fireflies” by Owl City. I’m back in my friend’s dorm room and this song is candy.

“Chocolate” by The 1975. I’m back at a crummy job. My best friend tells me to check this out. Everything is better.

“Untitled 6” by Sigur Ros. I’m back in the shed in my backyard. I dig this, and I hope to use this to be the smartest person in all future music conversations.

“10,000 Days” by Tool. I’m back in my college dorm room. This music is weird and now I’m weird and I never don’t want to be weird.

“The Mixed Tape” by Jack’s Mannequin. I don’t remember when I first heard this song, but damn, I still love it.

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