Sunday, August 28, 2011

Why I Write: Because Love is the Opposite of Underwear

Let me explain. You continue doing something, hopefully putting in the thousands of hours to become good at it, because you are obsessed with it, you 'love' it, it never bores you. Whatever it is--writing, playing piano, cooking chocolate cupcakes, origame,... When you become blase about something, when you no longer find it novel, when you stop noticing it, like say cotton underwear or the boyfriend whose favorite song you can't remember--you will never become excellent at it. You just don't have the commitment required. You might as well move on to a new hobby, to a new boyfriend.

Every day I write. Every day I read. It just doesn't feel like a good day if I don't. It's not just a job that I show up for. I could pay the bills some other way. I want to be excellent. I hope that my persistence, my obsession will help get me there. I believe talent and natural ability play their roles in all excellence (I mean I could never be a top sprinter or a ballerina, no matter how many hours I put it though I might be better) but 'grit' as Jonah Lehrer points out are as, perhaps more, important. Granted, you have to have at least some talent. I'm not sure how much I have, but I'm hoping my 'grit' magnifies, amplifies it enough to compensate. Perhaps it's just wishful thinking, because I couldn't stop writing poetry even if I wanted to. It's not just an infatuation.

Here's Lehrer's always-fascinating blog in which he talks about 'grit'. It gives me hope that my perspiration will pay off. Anyway, Lehrer's page is worth reading for this as well as other fascinating ideas.

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