What follows is the account of a chilly Chicago Monday for an aspiring writer whose work is entirely online, but isn’t writing
8:00- The iPhone alarm clock’s RINGING rousts me at a damn respectable time to be getting up. I peek out my window and look at the equally productive members of society parading to work. I’m straddling slumber and consciousness but hey, that’s the grind of a working man.
8:45- I wake up again and check Facebook. Notification! Fuck. It’s a pity one saying it’s someone’s birthday. Looks like I’m gonna have to hunt for self-esteem elsewhere.
8:45-9:00–Check Twitter, e-mail (personal, not work) and ESPN. My heart flutters when I realize I haven’t checked Instagram yet, an extra present hidden deep under the tree.
9:00- I read fifty pages of whatever book people have said is a “must read.” I withhold my morning pee, breakfast, and other survival treats until I read my 50 pages or else it won’t happen. I don’t like reading but supposedly it makes you a better writer, which better be fucking true because I’d much rather wait for the movie. But I climb this cognitive stairmaster because I’m down for any way to become a better writer that’s not writing. Another perk is when someone brings up the book in conversation I can casually go “I’ve read that book, good book” then change the subject. Chill.
10:15- At exactly 50 pages I stop, even though it’s in the middle of a sentence. As usual I calculate how long it took to fulfill my page quota to see how intelligent I am. Today, I am not intelligent.
10:16- My shower has to run for ten minutes before the water is warm. I check social media while I wait and try to chase thoughts of how many lives my reject water could save in some tribe in Africa. This troubles me, but not enough to take a cold shower when it’s 20 degrees outside. I know if the small African child with the beach ball belly were in my position he’d do the same. Cold showers blow.
10:30–As (warm) water falls on me I consider whether shaving my pubes for prospective intercourse partners is jinxing myself. No, I decide, the universe doesn’t care about you Mike, you control your own destiny, and pretending otherwise is disingenuous to both your successes and failures. If you really want to increase your chances of getting laid, forget the hocus pocus shit and have 8 beers instead of 15. That way when you talk to girls words will come out, which studies show girls respond to more than drooling on yourself while doing the macarena. By the time I decide “fuck superstition, I’m shaving my pubes” I’m already out of the shower cooking breakfast.
10:45- Breakfast is 4 egg whites and 2 eggs with a piece of whole wheat toast, dry. For eighteen years I ate Eggo waffles for breakfast so this “nutrition” shit is big for me. So big that I tell any poor bastard who so much as utters the word “breakfast” or even “break”—really an “br” word— how healthy my breakfast is and how important it is for me to “Start the day off right.”
11:00– I open my laptop and get to work. The company I work for is on on west coast time so it looks to them like I’m up and grinding at 9AM.
11:45– Reddit is hilarious. Funny shit, and so consistent. But now it’s time for work.
11:45–12:15– I spy on the Google Doc of possible article topics for the blog I was fired from two months ago. They seem to lack a protocol for revoking access to it, which shows how few people they fire. Basically I’m the kid peeking over a fence at the good athletes who said I can’t “play with them no more.” It’s amazing how common it is to want to get a job, but not want to do it. I pined for the validation of getting hired, hated the job until they fired me, and now I’d do anything to work there again.
12:16– I start my real job. I’m the head/only customer service specialist for a company that sells books helping depressed old women not be depressed. It’s a great gig, the only downside being all the customers’ e-mail sign-offs. Instead of “Thanks,” or “Best,” they’re all something like:
With tranquility, peace, and a long exhale from the soul,
From the nethers of my loins, to the kingdom of my heart,
1:12– An eight-legged coworker kept getting in my personal space so I smooshed, and flushed him down the toilet. Ughh…I hate office drama.
1:30– To get a writing job you have to write a ton so you have samples. So even when I’m not writing for money (almost always) I’m still writing. The problem is writing sucks and I’ll do anything to avoid it.
Today that means an emergency trip to the market as there’s no milk or Cliff Bars, and only 18 eggs left. I spend 15 minutes deciding which podcast I should listen to during the two block pilgrimage to Trader Joes, and finally choose not to bring headphones in favor of listening to the heartbeat of Chicago.
1:33– I wish I brought headphones. The only entertainment on the trek there is giggling at the dudes posted up in the vape lounge I always pass by. If you don’t know, a vape lounge is where virgins go to suck on cancerous robot cocks and generally just chill.
2:00– I return from Trader Joes with $40 worth of groceries. No matter what I go to that store for I always end up with near exactly $40 worth of shit. Putting away the groceries and folding up the paper bags gives me a sickening sense of accomplishment. The thrill of buying and storing junk food is just too much to bare. America!
2:03– It’s time to write. Writing is more a discipline than a skill in that anyone can do it, but doing it is the hardest part. So if I really do love writing then it’s time to prove it. I’m going to write something great…after my 20 minute power nap.
3:00– My power nap morphed into a 50 minute tiger snooze. But it’s been a tough day and I’m a growing boy and 5 Hour Energy commercials affirm “That 2 O’Clock Feeling” is universal. So why should I feel guilty because I’m fortunate enough to have a bullshit job that lets me nap in the middle of the day?
All the Kindergartners: “Good point, Mike!!!”
4:00– I check the cost of flights I’ll never book, scour concert tickets I can’t afford, and answer a few work e-mails without spell checking them first, then head to a cafe down the street eager to start the day.
4:15-8– After judging patrons who came to this quaint, hipster cafe to write (so fucking cliche) I start writing.
Author Steven Pressfield says “Resistance” is that voice in your head telling you not to pursue your goals. It derives from a fear you can’t articulate, that burrows in your tummy and pulls you away from exercise, pursuing your dreams, meeting new people ect. and toward the internet, junk food, naps, basically anything that makes you feel great while you’re doing it and like shit afterwards. Today I’m able to fight off resistance and write. Whether it’s good or not doesn’t matter, either way I gallop home like an Olympic torchbearer to play darts with my trusty roommate, who goes by simply “Tim.” In the words of Obama, “Today was a good day…ooohh-aaahh.”