Your Environment Affects Your Life

Earlier this week, I noticed I started playing video games in the morning. This is not something I ever used to do on weekdays. Before I moved into the tiny house, I read actual books during breakfast. After I moved, my new environment made it a little awkward to eat and read at the same time, so I’d listen to an audio book or podcast with breakfast.

Then, I moved my computer up to the loft. This is where my bed, TV and video games are. Now that I have everything in one place, more of my time is spent here. Naturally, my eating routines moved up to the loft along with my computer. Since I eat breakfast while playing video games on the weekends, my brain associated the two things and I just wanted to do it. So I did.

The good news is that I was cognizant of these things. I’ve been a lot more aware of my habits and routines recently, which makes it easier to determine where I am, what I’m doing, where my behavior needs to be fixed. I found it interesting how significantly my actions changed because of a small change in my environment.

This morning, I chose to read instead of play video games.

Writing to Solve a Problem

One of the reasons I write every day is to work things out in my mind. When I write down my thoughts about certain subjects as they come to me, it helps me look at things in a new light, and arrive at different conclusions than I might have otherwise.

For instance, I’ve been thinking about quitting my day job for a while now, and yesterday I had more thoughts about it. I’ve managed to move into a remote position, which has vastly improved my quality of life. However, I still have days where I throw my hands up and tell myself I don’t want to do this anymore.

So, I spent about an hour or so writing out my feelings, and soon I was breaking down each of my worries, coming up with solutions to each one, and creating a plan for my next steps.

The conclusion I arrived at is that things won’t be as bad as I imagine they’ll be if I quit. I have enough saved up to last me quite a while. I know that I will quit, I just haven’t decided on the date that will actually happen, though. I’m still working things out. But, I’ve realized that if I continue writing my feelings on the subject, eventually it will lead to further action.

All that to say, writing is great for dissecting and analyzing your thoughts.

Work that shit out.

Starting Up Again

Hi. My name is David Goode, and I’m a writer.

I didn’t discover my love of writing until I was 33. That was over two years ago. I’ve written nearly every day since then. 

I write every day for a number of reasons:

  1. I enjoy it.
  2. It helps me process thoughts and emotions.
  3. It helps me learn.
  4. It is rewarding.

I write fantasy novels and non-fiction articles on Medium. I am also working on a script for a video game that my incredibly talented cousin is creating. Having this spread of projects is fulfilling. Even though I get paid very little for my writing, I still find it incredibly rewarding.

A Silly Thing That Used to Hold Me Back

I don’t know why it took me so long to find my love of writing. I guess I just thought I wasn’t smart enough, and that authors were some sort of supernatural, highly intelligent beings. While many authors are quite intelligent and may have Master’s degrees in complex subjects, I’ve learned all those things are not actually a requirement for being a writer.

Some of the more complex subject matter in most novels is simply the result of the author researching that specific subject. A lot of the stuff they write about was probably unknown to them before they wrote the book. It’s not like they magically know all this stuff or specialize in every subject they write about. An author who writes a fiction book about an astrophysicist is not typically an astrophysicist themselves. Similarly, if they write a beautiful description of a cathedral, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re an architect.

The author doesn’t need to know everything that the character knows. They only need to know what is relevant to the story. In others words, an author should know a little bit about a lot of different things.

The only thing an author needs to do intelligently is write, which means (among other things) having a good sense of revelation; when to reveal, and when to conceal. If you can make your readers believe that the the smart character is actually a smart character, you’ve done your job. If you can paint a beautiful portrait of the cathedral with your words, you’ve done your job. The author, and the character whose point of view they are writing from, don’t need to tell us everything they know about the universe.

My Plan For The Website

As of now, I don’t have a solid plan for the content of this website. The only rule I’ve made for myself is that I will post something new once a week.

For now, at least, I won’t:

  • have any length requirements.
  • have content requirements.

I will just write whatever is on my mind, and make it look somewhat publishable. The important thing for now is to establish a cadence. It doesn’t matter too much what I write, because no one will read it at first, anyway.

One important part of writing a good story is having proactive characters who drive the plot.

I guess with all this I’m just taking a cue from my own characters: driving the plot of my own life, and seeing where it takes me.

How about you?

Intentional Writing

Every sentence needs to have a purpose. This is from Seth Godin:

A simple editing trick:

Every sentence has a purpose. It doesn’t exist to take up space, it exists to change the reader, to move her from here to there.

This sentence, then, what’s it for?

If it doesn’t move us closer to where we seek to go, delete it.

Good words to remember whether writing fiction or non-fiction.

Move it forward, have a purpose.

The Beating Heart of Creative Work

Social Media Detox Project: Day 29

I’m having fun diving deeper into the characters I’m creating for my novel.

Figuring out all their quirks, and how the different world-building elements affect their lives and personalities is an interesting way to examine my own worldview.

I guess I’m learning more about myself, as I slowly uncover the beating heart of my creations.

What I Did Today

Exercise

Novel writing

Posted a YouTube video

Writing critique for a friend

Something I Read Today

“The veined stone will be his monument, when his own veins are drained by an embalmer; when his limbs are set like marble, an inscription of his virtues will be picked out in gold.” -From Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Something I Learned Today

I need to continue to remain aware of my self-doubt, but not let it take control over me. I need to continue believing in what I’m doing and allow the flicker of what I’m trying to say shine through everything I create.

Sluggish Change

Social Media Detox Project: Day 28

Change is hard.

Change doesn’t happen overnight.

Change often feels like a slog.

And it happens so slowly that we don’t really notice it unless we’re actively keeping track of it.

This is why bullet journaling has been so beneficial to me. With it, I can evaluate what I did in a given week or month, and use my entries as a reminder that I am, in fact, moving forward.

Because some days it feels like I’m not.

What I Did Today

Novel writing

Video editing

Family time at the movies

Something I Read Today

People Don’t Change

“(Unless they want to)

Humans are unique in their ability to willingly change. We can change our attitude, our appearance and our skillset.

But only when we want to.

The hard part, then, isn’t the changing it.

It’s the wanting it.” -From Seth’s Blog, People Don’t Change by Seth Godin

Something I Learned Today

That my unscripted YouTube videos are kind of ramble-y. I think I need to do something about that.

Creation, Nature, Video

Social Media Detox Project: Day 27

I really love creating.

The satisfaction I get from forming something from nothing is indescribable. I love the fluidity, the multifaceted nature of creation.

There are just so many damn ways to create.

For instance, I’ve been recording a lot of video, messing around with YouTube and different video editing software, lately.

I’m also writing two different novels, this blog, freelance writing for a startup website, developing marketing ideas for my cousin’s video game, singing in a band, and songwriting.

Because of how much fun I’m having with all these projects, I don’t really watch very much TV these days, or use social media at all–unless you count YouTube as social media, which, at this point, I don’t (I count it more as a creative tool).

In addition to all that, more projects are in the works. These involve video, which is why I’ve been leaning into it more.

Another reason I’ve been loving video, specifically, is that it has encouraged me to get outside more. I now pay attention to the smaller things, like leaves, flowers, crabs, rocks, knotholes inside trees. I get the benefit of absorbing the loveliness of nature and getting a killer tan (j/k I burn really badly) while also creating something–having my cake and eating it, too.

Maybe someday I’ll become a nature documentary filmmaker or something.

Planet Earth, here I come.

What I Did Today

Exercise

Novel writing

Family time at the park

Video recording/editing

Something I Read Today

“If he gets after me again I’m going to kill him, and if I kill him they’ll hang me, and if they’re going to hang me I want a better reason.” -From Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Something I Learned Today

The basics of Adobe After Effects, and how to dynamically link it with Premiere Pro.

What You Can Control and What You Can’t

Focus on the former.

Ignore the latter.

If you do that enough, you may find that eventually the things that once seemed out of your control are not such a big deal.

What I Did Today

Exercise

Novel writing

Family time

Something I Read Today

“The only way to really care is to have human beings who care (and to give them the authority and resources to demonstrate that.)

Once you’ve got that, it’s pretty easy to show that you do.” -From Seth’s Blog, Too Big To Care by Seth Godin

Something I Learned Today

That I think I’m ready to quit my day job sooner rather than later.

Ask Yourself the Right Questions About Your Life

Social Media Detox Project: Day 25

We all have things we’d like to change.

But, a lot of the time, we find the change never comes.

This is because we aren’t thinking about personal change enough.

And when we do think about change, we see it as a monolith, a whole big mess of problems we need to fix. So, we shrug and say we’ll deal with it another day.

And “another day” never comes, because we are afraid of this perceived monolith. If we even take the time to do a little self-reflection at all, and evaluate the areas we are lacking, we see so many problems that we become overwhelmed and give up before we even get started.

The thing is, change needs to be broken down. If we have a large number of problems in front of us, the best strategy is to focus on one at a time. We can’t do everything at once; we don’t have the capacity for that.

Real change requires real focus and real commitment; it is not something you can half-ass.

You have to be honest with yourself. You have to ask yourself questions about why you behave the way you do.

If we do not ask ourselves the right questions about our own lives, then we have no hope of finding the answer.

What I Did Today

Exercise

Novel writing

Blog writing

Edited video

Something I Read Today

“It is important to remember that the environment drives our good behaviors as well as our bad ones. People who seem to stick to good habits with ease are often benefitting from an environment that makes those behaviors easier.

Meanwhile, people who struggle to succeed could be fighting an uphill battle against their environment. What often looks like a lack of willpower is actually the result of a poor environment.” -From Atomic Habits, by James Clear

Something I Learned Today

If you focus on things you can control, you may eventually find things which were once out of your control are no longer so far out of reach.