Day 195: Lessons from over the half way point.

I never thought I would be able to do it. I figured I would skip a day and then start drinking again. Now that I’m at 195 days in a row of “blogging,” I have too much invested to quit. I wish I could, honestly, but it’s too late. I never watched Julia and Julia, but I’m sure there were more than a few days when she didn’t quite feel like making Duck L’Orange.

People who try to keep up with reading my entries can probably tell the days when I don’t really have anything to write about (like today). It seems simple, right? Just take something that happened yesterday and go off about it. For me, it’s not quite that easy – I have to get excited about a topic to write about it. If I struggle and force something, it just doesn’t work. So how do I get excited about a topic? Cocaine. Piles of it. If you’ve seen me in the past 6 months, I’m generally covered in cocaine. I wish I wasn’t kidding, that sounds fun.

It takes a lot of trust and a lot of music. I’m not sure this is relate-able, but I can’t just call upon my brain to work when I want it to. I think I blogged about this a long time ago, but it’s worth repeating. I can’t just say “OK, it’s time to do this thing.” I have to putter around for a bit and turn my brain off so it can work on something. I’m never sure what that something is until it hits me. Usually it’s a list about the types of pets drug dealers have or why I think Christmas is stupid. So I have to sometimes say no to those ideas (I don’t very often) and just be patient until something more interesting comes to me.

This is all boring stuff about me. I originally planned on sharing a few lessons I’ve learned from this process, so here goes:

  • I would’ve taken the weekends off. It’s not realistic to write about a new topic each day and make each one interesting. In fact, I would suggest going for 2 or 3 times a week and making them longer, more in depth, and thought-out posts. That’s probably what I’ll do after the year is up. I’d like to take 10 or so of my favorite posts and really expand and work on them.
  • Mix it up a lot. When I started I just wrote self deprecating stuff about what a lazy douche I am. Believe me, I enjoy writing about that, but you do that every day and you start to get serious self-esteem issues. I already struggle with those, so to write a daily mantra confirming them was leading quickly to a padded cell. That’s why I try to discuss things from my past, and when I’m feeling extra lazy and unmotivated, I’ll do some kind of list, or I’ll write some pseudo psychological bullshit about how my brain works and what I’ve learned from keeping a blog for 195 days in a row. So meta. Jesus, I made that about me again.
  • It’s been good for my stand-up but not as good as it could be. I’ve created a ton of stage worthy material through this blog, and if you’ve been in a leaky basement filled with drunk Australians you may have had the opportunity to see me work on some of it. The problem is I haven’t been getting the amount of stage time necessary to figure out where all the comedic beats are in these stories. I can’t just recite my funniest blogs word for word. They have to be paired down and simplified a lot for a standup audience to tolerate them. A live audience can only tolerate so many clever turns of phrase before they feel like they’re being read to. Why the lack of stage time? Well, I haven’t had the energy to “hang out” and get booked at places. The landscape in NYC has changed a lot over the past 5 years and there are loads of comics floating around. Various large cliques have formed and none of them are made up predominantly of dads in their late 30’s.
  • It’s helped me significantly with script writing and dialogue. I’ve written two original pilots and a spec script over the last 5 months. When “staffing season” goes down in L.A around February, I hope to have a few interviews for writing positions on shows (sitcoms and dramedies). Jesus, why do I feel so square writing about this? It’s like if I put that desire out there, it will create some negative force that will cause me not to get a writing job or sell a script. When I think about people I know who sell shows or write for them, I don’t think they would ever say they wanted to do that in a blog. I think I’m all twisted up. I just assume everything is magic.
  • It hasn’t been as therapeutic as I thought it would be. I haven’t learned anything about myself other than that I’m surprisingly capable of sticking to a promise to myself. I guess that’s a rather therapeutic lesson. It’s just an unexpected one.

I’ll leave some further analysis for 170 days from me. I’ll bring the chuckles tomorrow. It’s nice for it to be “interesting” once in a while, no?

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

2 comments On Day 195: Lessons from over the half way point.

  • Great post and great lessons.

  • I'm impressed by your persistence. I blog for a while and then give up when I decide exactly 11 people read every 5th entry I post. Except for the ones where I talk about someone as anonymously as possible. That day, that person's best friend reads my blog, tells the person I wrote about and I receive a terse email that I've hurt their feelings and damaged our friendship irreparably despite the fact that I was trying to relate a story about something that happened 8 years ago where I come off as the idiot. Anyway, kudos to you for keeping on.

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