And the topless writing begins…now.


I sit here, typing in front of my computer, sans shirt. Bare, beautiful, and cold. The Midwest has been downright unhealthy chilly the past few weeks. So why am I topless? I thought it was time to get some writing done. I thought it was time to be more productive.

Oftentimes my problem is finding focus, so I thought that it was time for some external motivators. No, not the carrot. But the stick. Sometimes we need it. I know that the best motivation comes from within, but sometimes we need some unpleasant consequences from our environment to help us along. Negative stimuli. And what’s a more natural negative motivator to prevent distraction than the cold? So…

No clothes until I’m done.

Sometimes we get ahead of ourselves. That long journey to that high peak where our goal sits is daunting when we think about it. As the saying goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. I was staring at the blank, white page. Unable to take that first step. Nothing. I was obsessed with the peak, imagining the finished product. And I distracted myself. Would it be good? Would it be good enough? I wanted it to be perfect, but there was nothing there yet to perfect!

In the creative arts, we need to let the expression flow, and thinking is counterproductive to opening up our imagination.

I’m cold right now. But I am writing fast. The distraction was part of my problem. The other is my inability to produce things quickly. And in this day and age, well, in any day, efficiency makes you a pro. But especially today, in the midst of a thousand, a million, a billion voices clamoring around you, it’s pretty damn important.

The alternative to efficiency gets you a hobby. And that can be good. But making good art takes time and practice and not only getting people interested, but keeping them interested. And interest in today’s onslaught of data and media is a fleeting commodity. I want to sharpen that saw of skill before I’m too old to enjoy its fruits.

The same distraction from becoming a pro can be at play with an intellectual pursuit. Going to school to get that degree is going to take two, four, maybe six years. Too long a time. I’m too busy. I’m too old. These are distractions. When Raymond told the gun-toting Tyler he didn’t become a veterinarian because it was “Too much school” Tyler’s response was…


“Would you rather be dead?”

I’d rather just not be cold. So, here I sit, cold, banging out these sentences the fasted I’ve ever typed. And it’s working. Because I’m not distracted by my cat. I’m not falling for that hunger pang and running to the kitchen for “just a quick snack.” I’m not thinking, “Maybe my bathtub needs cleaned?” (I’m sure it does). I’m not worried about whether this will be good. About whether you will like it. I’m only producing.

And when you’re producing, you don’t think about what others want. And you don’t think about yourself. You are in the moment.

When we’re in the moment, we are genuine. We produce the best stuff. The truest stuff. The stuff people will love. Maybe not everyone. Probably not, actually. But who wants to produce the stuff that’s already been done? We’re here to capture people’s interest. And ultimately, we’re here to get some love. And part of being loved is making something other people value.

I hope that some day my writing will be valued by enough people that it makes the world a better place.

A warmer place.
Man, it’s cold.
But I think I’m done. And in record time.
Now, where did I throw my sweatshirt?

3 thoughts on “And the topless writing begins…now.

  1. I liked your point about negative stimuli producing efficiency. So many efforts in school, jobs and life are made to exterminate this stimuli, and in efficiency’s place lies contentment. I disagree, however, that thinking blocks the openness of imagination. On the contrary, I believe that better, sometimes more structured thinking can lead to openness. You made me think about Fight Club during this post, and I’m beginning to see Tyler Durden’s war as a war against contentment and sloth. Interesting example.

    1. I agree, Jared. I should be more clear about “thinking”. I meant the thinking that replaces instinct. The thinking that occurs while you’re in the middle of action, like taking a shot in basketball. The looking down while you’re climbing.
      I liked Fight Club movie much better than the book. I do like the author’s other work, Lullaby, If you haven’t check it out, I recommend it.

      1. I’m a big Palahniuk fan! It’s been awhile since I have read Lullaby, but it was a good one. My favorite of his is Diary, which I think has much to say on the life and importance of the artist.

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