Defined By Your Worst

I’ve had a rough week. No deaths in the family or anything seriously bad, but it’s been a bit emotionally draining. Finally got in touch with the guy who owns, and he refused to sell to me at any price. A writer I was really hoping to work with decided not to contribute to a project I’m working on. Some girl stuff. And it’s been rainy. I’m not complaining, just briefly illustrating how my week has been so far.

The past two days I’ve sat down to write my thousand words, and it’s been frustrating. I sit and stare at my computer, come up with an idea, write three paragraphs, and then get stuck again. I’ve never before in my life been in a situation where I’ve started a post and then got a few paragraphs in and lost so much momentum that I can’t finish it.

But above this one I have two three-paragraph posts.

So today, after staring off in space for a while, trying to think of solutions  to some of the problems that have cropped up this week, I realized that I’d better start my daily writing. I’ve had a couple days where I tried to write at eleven pm before going to sleep, and that was just brutal.

Tynan, I thought, you’ve had a stressful past few days. Just take the day off of writing–you’re not going to write anything decent with all this stuff on your mind, anyway.

But, obviously, I’m writing now. And trying hard to do a good job. Why? Because I know that what defines a person is how they perform when they’re at their worst.

Give someone a healthy dose of inspiration, a solid night’s sleep, some snacks and tea, and some peace and quiet, and anyone can write a decent post. But when you’re tired, distracted, have personal stuff on your mind, and can’t think of a good topic, it’s a lot tougher.

Maybe a better example is friendship. When everything’s going well in your life and your friend invites you to his skiing cabin in Tahoe, it’s easy to be a good friend. When you’re broke, your wife just left you, and your friend needs your help getting off drugs, it’s a lot harder. But that’s the point of being a good friend-being there for someone when they need your help and you’re not in a great position to provide it.

So I use that as fuel. When everything’s going great, I don’t congratulate myself too much, because I know it’s easy to perform well when things are going well. And when things are a bit rougher, I use it as motivation, keeping in mind that my performance at that moment is the best indicator of how well I’m living up to my goals.


This was written a week or two ago. Everything’s good now. 🙂

In the middle of writing this a reader spotted me at Samovar and told me how much he liked my blog. Thanks, Will… good timing!

My new favorite new restaurants in San Francisco: Moya and Chilango. At Moya get the veggie platter, and ask for Shuro and a coconut to drink. At Chilango get the carnitas. Mmmm.

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