Be Prepared to Say Goodbye to Old Habits and Friends (and Welcome New Ones)

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Jim Rohn

Last year at this time I was in the process of finishing my first book (Tattoos and Tans), and I still really didn’t know my ass from a hole in the ground. I didn’t understand the writing process. I didn’t understand productivity, habits, routine. I didn’t understand the role of physical fitness, much less meditation and the learned ability to step back from raw emotion. And most important, even though I was enthusiastic about my new mission of writing a new novel every year, I still clung to most of my old habits and associations. I wanted to be bold and productive–a new breed of writer. But I wanted everything else to stay the same. 

And what I learned is that it doesn’t work that way. As I made progress on the writing and learned more about the best way to power my own creative engine, some of my relationships with people, things, and habits didn’t fit as well as they used to. My first reaction was to ignore the incongruency . . . but eventually I came to see the uncomfortable truth. 

Especially as you get older, it’s hard as hell to make bold changes in your life. You like things a certain way. You have old, dear friends . . . friends you have history with. But if you’re serious about the transformation, maybe it’s not so much history that you should be thinking about. If you’ve gone through the trouble of transforming, you must be focused on the future.

The hard lesson I’m starting to learn is that my journey as a writer is going to be a lonely one. It’s likely new associations will come along, and they will be better suited for this new version of my life. But some part of me will still mourn the old friends I’ve drifted apart from. 

Which leads me to the main point of this entry . . . but first let me just remind you that this blog is about me. All I’m trying to do is figure this shit out for myself. If what I’m about to say makes sense to you, I’m glad. But if it doesn’t, consider the possibility that I still don’t know my ass from a hole in the ground. 

Anyway, here is my lesson for this week: if you’re going to attempt something hard, be prepared to go it alone. Friends and habits are welcome to come along, but if they can’t contribute in some way, you might just have to drop them off at the next rest stop. Let them find their own way to wherever they’re going.

Published by New Bayou Books

JR Reed started New Bayou Books to spark a revolution in Louisiana literature. The goal of the company is simple: to great writers out of the shadows to carry on the Louisiana literary tradition.

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