[NOTE: This is an accurate record of how fear and anxiety dominated my life during those years. Extreme panic. Running from nothing in particular. Believing “work” was somehow the answer.]
As usual, I am overworked. Too much freelance shit to do.
I am not exaggerating at all. My freelance work has DOUBLED in the past month. It’s killing me. I have not had a real day off in weeks. It is a struggle to devote any time at all to my personal development or ideas.
Today it really got to me and I blew a fuse. I had no outlet. I really felt like I was going to lose it, whatever that might mean. I got on my bike, went to the library. (I got the idea to do that from the blog of Will Akers, one of my favorite screenwriting teachers.)
I was extremely angry that my entire day was consumed by working for other people. This is starting to feel like a confining day job that I cannot escape. It pays way too much money. And ALL of it goes to debt right now. Which is really, really, really crazy! I am making more money right now than I ever have in my life, and I am completely broke.
I grabbed a cup of iced tea at the coffee shop on the way. Felt guilty for spending $1, but I was in such a bad mood and about to collapse that I needed something to pick me up.
At the library, I discovered SILENCE. I got out my laptop and out came the following. Forgive how stream-of-consciousness it is. I can’t pretend to be perfect, especially if I hope to someday learn something from this journal. (Or maybe someone else will.)
The purpose of my life is not enjoyment and happiness. The purpose of life is to make progress. Art and science are the most noble purposes. If you are not making progress, then you are going in circles in your tiny life. You are stagnating, consuming, not adding a little bit of energy like you should. Life is a ship that is powered by ideas and discovery.
What if sci-fi is a delusion? What if it’s not the future at all? What if we just stop discovering things? Isn’t that what most people are amounting to? If you have a day job and never do a single thing that is creative in your entire life, isn’t that the boring future you are voting for, through non-action?
Every day that you do not contribute creativity to the world, you are nothing but a consumer, voting for nothing. What percentage of people voluntarily devote themselves to the advancement of the arts and sciences? How many commit their lives to that? Not many. Without that, the ship has no fuel.
I am here to be one of those people. That’s my calling. The guy who makes the stuff that powers spaceships. The guy who powers the spaceship with stuff that pops out of his own mind.
Not everyone is meant for that. And that’s OK. And my anxiety and disgust are internal alarms that keep me doing my job. It’s what I want more than anything.
What is the net result of my struggle in life? What is the yield?
The two most important things I can be doing with my time:
1.) Generating ideas (writing, music, art, philosophy)
2.) Connecting with others who value those ideas (fans, peers)
Sometimes the net result of my day is staying alive — eating and paying bills. I say there is no reason to be alive other than to create. It might be a skewed and unpopular way to view the world. Maybe it sounds crazy, but that’s how I see it. Most might value being with their loved ones, sitting in their happy little boat. That is not for me.
If I have not created, I have wasted a day. I have approximately 11,000 more days left until I retire or reach 65 years old. How many ideas can I contribute to the world in 11,000 days or 30
years? Many, I hope.
You might argue that progress is made even by accident. You might meet someone at random on the street who places you in an important and influential job, or stumble upon a great invention in one single moment of abstract thought. And you can either wait around for those moments, or you can live a life of intentional creativity. The special bonus is that those random moments of insight will happen, in addition to what you have created through hard work.
It’s true, life is strange and unpredictable. Even if you’re passive, things will happen. But adventurers don’t wait around. Adventurers are the makers of adventure. That’s what counts.
Then I wrote 5 PAGES of screenplay, which brings me to a total of 43.
The scenes I wrote were explosive, violent. It was so loud in my head, that hours went by before realizing that I was sitting in silence, with thoughts so loud I feared I must have been yelling them the entire time.
After that, I wandered around the library a little bit and felt much, much, much better. The anger was gone.
It’s crazy to me that I am still battling with my creativity in such a way. The times of my life when I am the most frustrated and conflicted tend to bring out the most interesting results and important change.