Writing habits

Do you remember the first time you fell in love? Of course you do. Kind of like discovering chocolate for the first time, you just wanted more and more.

My first proper relationship was notable in that it was mostly long distance. Soon after we met I went overseas to study and decided to pour my heart and soul into keeping the relationship going. And a writing habit was born.

We were prolific. The amount of words written in letters, emails and text messages was at an almost Shakespearean quantity. Every single day, for months on end. Quality was highly questionable, but quantity was admirable.

This laid the groundwork for blogging and writing regularly for the rest of my life to date. Iā€™m thankful. Thankful for the habit, thankful for this blog, and thankful my current relationship is in person.

What are the origins of your habits?

Happy Monday chimps.

Purpose

After years of blogging – I have finally realised why my website exists at all: It is to help husbands.

Initially, I thought this blog was about music, or maybe psychology, or maybe self-improvement – but now I realise that it is actually about the situation I found myself in.

6 years ago, I moved in with my wife after our wedding and I felt frankly lost. There had been so much celebration and planning for our married life, but once it actually happened, there were several problems; I had nowhere to call my own space (interior design and marriage negotiations). I had no creative outlet (personality type). I had no sense of self (again, psychology and personality type). I was getting unfit and unhappy fast.

The themes of Design, Negotiation, Psychology and Creativity have all been catalysts for change in my married life. I have decided to take responsibility for my own marriage and my own health. I write and create podcasts centred on these themes.

There will be lots more people who can relate to this. To date this site has only helped myself, but from now on Chimpwithcans has a purpose – to enable a husband’s health in the home. 

Not a lot will change, but I will treat this writing and podcasting as more of a job and you can expect things to become a bit more professional. There will also be Patreon content created and available to Patrons only.

Happy Wednesday Chimps.

Motivation vs discipline

I can’t think of anything to write. It’s often the way with writing. Or painting. Or creating anything.

Sure, every now and then the words flow like wine from a carafe. Sweet muse does her thing and inspiration hits. But most of the time it feels more like squeezing water out of a rock.

What helps in these situations is discipline and routine. This forces you to do some work despite the way you feel. Open the laptop. Write something. Anything. Go through the motions.

And there’s another blog post.

Contrast = interesting to humans

I once asked my dad why he liked The Rolling Stones so much. His answer was that they understood the need for highs and lows in a song.

It is hardwired deep in your nervous system. The senses that we humans have developed over millennia of evolution – touch, smell, sight, hearing – are made up of nerve cells linking to our brain. These nerve cells respond better to a sudden change than they do to repeated stimuli.

What does this mean? It depends on the situation.

For Mick Jagger and the boys it means that their songs have light and shade. Quiet verses and soaring choruses. Jagger will whisper and then he will growl and roar.

For emergency response vehicles it means the loud sirens are designed to be varied, sharp and with many different patterns so as to be noticed over the noise of everyday traffic. This contrast works better than one continuous noise which is easily filtered out by the human ear.

For creative people, I think it means that if a piece of art is not getting the desired response, then one of the first things to assess is the use of contrast – light and shade, highs and lows.

Contrast = interesting to humans.

Play Games

Playing games is important to me. In my life, Games come up all over the place.

If I find something difficult then it helps me to think of it as a game. This approach makes things less stressful and lowers my anxiety. Elon Musk says we might all just be living in a simulation. Sometimes it helps to think of life in that way. A few examples of play as it manifests in my life:

  • Playing with the kids at whatever game they have going
  • Treating menial parenting tasks as a game
  • Comedy and conversation with friends
  • Computer games
  • Sport and exercise including data on health
  • Social media accounts
  • Music – listening and playing music is a beautiful game
  • Work
  • Podcasts
  • Blogging šŸ˜‰
  • More and more I see life as one big bunch of games to play.
  • Some people are not good at playing. Doodling, Riffing, Games, Jokes, Humor are seen as a waste of time. I can’t understand this approach to life.
  • Happy Wednesday, chimps.
  • Podcast ambitions

    Today I am starting to work on a new series of podcasts for the blog.

    This is a misleading statement because as yet I don’t know what it’ll be about, who will be on it or how many I will do.

    Perhaps more accurate would be to say I am starting to think about starting to work on the podcast!

    One idea is to use the blog itself as a resource, looking back over the most popular posts I have written and use them as a guide for podcast topics.

    But like I say – still early days. So watch this space, and prime your ears in the meantime šŸ™‚

    Working late

    I used to hate working late. However, now a days my life is so manic it’s a bit of a treat once everyone is in bed to just turn on some music and focus for a while.

    Streaming tunes fill my head. Streams of words and numbers fill my screen.

    All in the peaceful night.

    An hour a day

    With most things, an hour a day will make it better. Whether it’s an hour of exercise, an hour of cleaning up, an hour of meditation, an hour of writing.

    Only 8 hours in the day though.

    The question then becomes, what 8 things am I going to do today?

    Where is the art coming from?

    Art as a consumable product. When we experience a piece of art, it is tempting to think that there could only ever be one version in the world. The song you’re listening to could surely only have sounded like this, could only ever have this tempo, could only be sung in this key. The picture you are looking at must have arrived fully formed – divine intervention flowed through the painter’s brush to the canvas in a single instant of inspiration. There was no practice involved and no research.

    Art as a process. Of course the opposite is most often true – artists above all are experts at curiosity and playing with ideas. The curiosity and the playing results in countless versions of an idea until one day a version feels right (or is chosen by a company executive) to represent the artist’s vision.

    Examples are everywhere – look at Bob Dylan’s countless versions of his most famous songs. Director’s cuts often differ wildly from the original film release. Look at Picasso’s obsessive research into the minotaur leading up to Guernica.

    Curiosity and playfulness are where the real magic is. I think that this is important to remember, both as customers and as artists. These processes are not instantly gratifying, and can often be frustrating. But they are processes that we have to go through and we have to acknowledge to get the most from any piece of art.

    Otherwise, there is a danger of art becoming a pre-packaged commodity. No back story. Nothing more to see.