Normal? What do you mean normal?
“There are two types of people: those who think they are normal, and those who know there’s no such thing.”
I love this quote, and recently I heard it again from Jeff Daniels’ character in the series Newsroom. I couldn’t get into the show, but I’m happy it reminded me of the quote.
I hate the term normal, because it is relative, invented by societies and cultures, and tons of people just kept trying to match up to it, without even questioning it. And the lot that questions it often gives up without trying enough, or believing that they can change anything.
The most common “normal” seems to be having a good job in a respectable corporation, climbing up the ladder while paying off a mortgage, having 2 kids and making a marriage work. Of course as time passes by, people work more and more, see those kids less, expect more from them (since they will face even a harsher competition for the best corporate jobs), have less fun and the vicious cycle continues. They do treat themselves to expensive stuff and some luxury holidays if they can afford it, without ever being able to appreciate it.
Bleak, right? I never wanted a corporate job. I never wanted a full-time job. I never believed marriage or having kids is a must. You want to get married? Fine. You want to have kids? Fine. But there is nothing wrong with doing things the way you want to.
And because I don’t want these things, I have been considered to be different/quirky/strange/eccentric by my friends and most of my family. They always believed that it is a temporary phase, just like I was expected to stop caring about the music that plays in the background. To get a stable job. To have a panicking biological clock because I’m past 25. What the hell?
I don’t fit in, because I have different dreams and plans. I aim to make it big as a writer, and even if I don’t, I’ll keep working as a writer. I’ll continue freelancing, writing those novels and screenplays, traveling and having the time of my life doing these. Of course this can be a lonely road since people around you either think you are crazy, or appreciate your guts and wish they could join you, but they won’t. It’s safer to stick to “normal” and “expected.”
So you do feel the need to read/meet people who feel the same way about things. People who do their own thing, and lead the life they want to lead. Johnny B. Truant is one of them.
I first came across his writing while reading Copyblogger where he guest-posts, but frankly, I could never really relate until I read his “Why Your Blog Is Going Nowhere (and the Truth about Getting Traffic).” on Jon Morrow’s boostblogtraffic.
Now don’t think that it is going to be the same old post. Just because everybody has discovered the draw of the “how-not-to-succeed/what-you-are-doing-wrong” sort of posts, don’t think his going to be similar. For one, he is blunt and uncensored. He also gives a lot of tough love, taking into consideration that it might just not be applying the wrong strategy, but you might also suck as a writer. Ouch.
But he does give advice that will work (if you apply them) whatever your problems might be. Now, I never let a good post go to waste-meaning I don’t just read and forget about it. I check the links, and see if the author is taking his own advice. I also read the posts the links take me to, because I always end up finding valuable resources and ideas for my writing. There’s also the benefit of reading more, which in turn makes you a more informed, varied and prolific writer.
So I did read the blog post he linked to, the one about how he wrote and published a novel on Kindle in 29 days, and the uncensored one (the other one he linked to,) and I decided, again, that he knew what he was talking about, and that I liked how he was talking about it. So I downloaded his free e-book How To Be Legendary.
HOW TO BE LEGENDARY – Review and Quotes
His analogies about Matrix got to be the second thing I liked about the series, the first one being Keanu Reeves. I might be alone in this, but I wasn’t remotely into the world where Neo wasn’t a slave to- it was just as bleak and lifeless and full of weird characters as the first one he didn’t feel he belonged to.
But the enslaving world in the analogy is the “normal” life as we are expected to live, and the liberating path is the one we choose for ourselves. It might end up being “normal” but it is important that we chose it willingly, and will be happy that we chose it to the last second we have on earth.
It is honest, fun and in-your-face.
“You’ll get old and then you’ll die, so there’s no point in hedging your biggest bets. It’s truly now or never.”
Not only doesn’t he book reinvent the wheel, but he openly admits to it. He admits his own procrastination and the period where he did things for the wrong reasons, and how he made them right.
You aren’t probably going to get any epiphanies reading the book, but it is a great motivator if you are struggling to put in the work for what you want to do, or presenting that work to the outside world. It will also remind you of how legendary people actually got to be legendary, and that not everyone will put in the work they need to.
So the book is helpful, though not everyone might feel that way. It helps, and will help, only if you are ready to get going. Like I completed this post in the midst of a major cold I’m fighting off. And yeah, it is nice to feel on track instead of feeling depressed over the obstacles/excuses (aka the lack of energy/lack of time/lack of inspiration…)
“The ‘I don’t have time’ excuse is the lamest excuse to ever exist. It makes me angry, because it is so fragrantly bullshit.”
Pay extra attention to what he says about trying to make things perfect. You can find the book here.