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My Daughter Thinks She’s Getting Better At The Floss

The other day, my daughter started dancing to Fred Schneider’s cover of the Harry Nilsson song “Coconut,” and wanted to show us how she could Floss.

It went something like this:

 

Sprout Sort Of Flossing.GIF

Mid-way through her dance, she squealed, “I’m getting good at the Floss!

She’s kind of correct.

I mean, sure, it didn’t look exactly like this,

anigif_sub-buzz-29832-1542385259-2.gif

but she’s got the right attitude about trying to work at something that doesn’t come easy.

Confidence and momentum build from seeing your progress.

She’s not focused on the distance between where she is and where she’d like to be. She’s looking the opposite direction and seeing how far she’s come from where she started.

If you get stuck in the unending Zeno’s Paradox of constantly getting closer to your goal, but never actually reaching it, you wind up with anxiety, frustration, and shame.

You stall out. You feel like a fraud.

It’s something I see in my students, my peers, and myself.

That pull between the optimism of seeing how far you’ve come fighting the pessimism of the long, unclear road ahead.

It’s easy to let that pull you into the mental trap of contrasting and comparing yourself with others.

But when you celebrate your progress, you focus on your personal bests, not on how far you are from achieving a world record. You can measure what you’ve done and add to it.

And you can make the story you tell yourself about how this is moving forward — This is what getting better looks like.

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blog

Elsewhere: Have You Heard About Dead Man?

I wrote a short post about Dead Man for The Black List’s Essential Westerns series.

Spoilers: This isn’t just one of my favorite Westerns, it’s one of my favorite movies.

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longread

Elsewhere: Endings are the new beginnings

Recently posted: A post I wrote for Writer Emergency Pack about the building blocks of a strong ending.

It’s a deep dive, similar to my previous Writer’s Guide to Unforgettable Villains, so you might want to grab some coffee first.

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longread

Recently Posted: A Writer’s Guide To Unforgettable Villains

I recently wrote an article called A Writer’s Guide To Unforgettable Villains for John August’s Writer Emergency Pack site.

If you’d like to learn more about ways to craft a strong, well-defined villain, and get a laundry list of great examples, give it a read!