Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

500 Words and the Warning of Albert Einstein

Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.
— Albert Einstein

What would Einstein have said in the age of Facebook shares and retweets?

Over the past several months this space has been fairly silent. Other than a few postsbringing attention to the Syrian refugee crisis (which is still going on, by the way).

I've given some thought as to why the silence. I'm not entirely sure. But here are a few ideas:

Campbell's Covered Bridge, South Carolina

  • I'm lazy, distracted and procrastinate writing - becoming a victim of Einstein's warning: reading too much and thinking too little (meaning no writing). While this may all be true and play into the lack of content here, I don't believe that's it ENTIRELY.
  • There are some things I simply don't want to share publicly. Vulnerability is a funny thing. Especially when it comes to a public forum like, oh ... say... the Internet? Some things probably shouldn't be said because you never know who actually reads this stuff.
  • I don't have anything to say. Could be. But that's not me, really. I typically always have something to say.
  • I don't know what direction this website needs to take. Ahhh ... now I think I'm hitting closer to home. This is a personal website that consists of a lot of randomness. I honestly have no idea what sort of content should be contained in this space. Kind of like much of my life at the moment ...

Yes, it doesn't take much to get me thinking about existential things lately. What contribution do I wish to make to this world? What do I want to actually be when I grow up?

Last week the word "professionalize" came up several times in my day job. This reminded me of Stephen Pressfield's term about "going pro" - which is his remedy to push past what he calls "resistance". He has trilogy of books that basically serve as a kick in the seat of the pants for people who are facing ANY of the above reasons, excuses, pretexts and pretenses for not doing something. Most particularly not doing something that is difficult, yet important. Like writing. Pressfield calls it "Resistance" - it's the dragon that must be slain every time one sets her face to do something important. The dragon must be slain. Resistance must be overcome.

I don't know why it is, but it seems like a swift kick to the rump is what I often need motivation. (Thank you Stephen Pressfield, and bosses and mentors who have been the bearer of the foot in the past.)

The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.
— Steven Pressfield

The simple message of Pressfield's books on writing and creativity: It's work. Get over yourself. The only way anyone is going top get their work done is to actually do their work. Or, to use Pressfield's terminology, you're gonna have to "go pro".

Pressfield again:

Are you a born writer? Were you put on earth to be a painter, a scientist, an apostle of peace? In the end the question can only be answered by action.

Do it or don’t do it.
— Steven Pressfield

So. Taking this sound advise (or this swift kick), I am going to publicly (that is, Internet-wise) make this commitment: 500 words.

Here are my rules for the 500 words:

  1. They need to be 500 words around a cohesive idea or project, rather than 50 Tweets (Fun fact: Tweets average about 10 words each). The results may or may not be a published blog post. The results could be progress on other ideas and projects that are brewing in my concept cauldron.
  2. My 500 words do NOT need to be published on the same day they were written, or even published at all. This is me "going pro" for me. Not you.
  3. Like a physical workout, as my capacity or weight class increases, I will increase my daily word count. My ideal writing weight would be 1000 words per day, I think. But, for now: 500 words. Every day. Daily is the key component here.
  4. This is above and beyond required writing. 500 words in a day job assignment doesn't count.

I think that's all of the rules. I wish I had one more, because 5 rules seems like a better number than 4 rules, but ... I'm going to let it go from there.

So there you have it. I would hope that 500 words per day will result in more activity at this small corner market in the Internet megapolis.

I know it will be a huge help to working out some muscles that desperately need flexing and that professionalization does become a thing.

I'm 48 years old. It's about time.

And the current 800+ word count of this little ditty is a respectable beginning.

If you would like to read the Stephen Pressfield books I mention above, I highly recommend that you do so.

Read Pressfield, then act. This is a sure antidote to lazy thinking.

How do you need to "go pro"? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Bernie AndersonComment