A Testament for Habits

Humans are creatures of habit. Not a shocking proposition, for most of human history our lives have been nothing but the same thing over and over. As a ‘sort of’ uncle of mine used to say, we “eat, sleep, shit, and work;” a succinct formula for our lives.

But it’s even more important for those like myself. Low in conscientiousness, and with a mental illness deeply linked to habit. Bipolar disorder is strongly linked to the circadian rhythm. Mess with your sleep? You’re going to feel it worse than others. And we probably all, at some level, already know this. But what you may not have known is that it goes that deep into biology. Another thing liked to the circadian rhythm is eating, so if you want to get next level about it, eat at the same time, and sleep at the same time as much as possible.

Don’t beat yourself up about it though. Use who you are today as a ruler for success. Just setting “better than before” as a goal is an actual, meaningful improvement, because now you’re seriously oriented upwards instead of across. The “ideal” can forgive the mistakes you make along the way to reaching them.1

Habits are powerful tools twofold. First, once you set a habit in place, you essentially start doing it automatically. I did this with fiction writing a year back when I was in my “year off” of University. Since I returned, I post weekly instead of daily. Another, more relevant habit I’ve constructed is… breakfast! I thought, what’s the easiest, and highest in fat/protien (the best morning [and life] nutrients) food that makes a good breakfast? Coffee! No. Coffee and peanut butter! Yes!! Wonderful! Now I have breakfast nearly every day.

The second superpower of habits is that, once one is in place, it’s super easy to build on it. It’s like… well, it’s sort of like building a house. Once you have the framework in, it’s not too difficult to nail down some dry-wall. Maybe add some siding? Pain the inside? Hell, it’s so nice now you might as well buy some imaginary furniture and move in to the damn place. But, there’s no rush. Do it right, do it at your own pace.

Just make sure that you’re oriented upwards, instead of across, and that’s where you’ll end up even if it’s by process of absent-minded strolling.

Further Watching on the topic of Habits:

  • Jordan Peterson – Daily Structure Keeps You Sane – “So you do the math, so we’ll say five hours a week for the sake of argument just to keep it simple. It’s 20 hours a month. It’s 240 hours a year. That’s six 40-hour work weeks. … Mostly what you want is to have [in life is] a routine. It’s discipline. It’s predictable and bloody well stick to it. You’re going to be way healthier and happier and saner if you do that … the world is too complicated for you to keep it organized all by yourself … So we outsource the problem of sanity.”
  • Simon Sinek – Do You Love Your Wife? – “It’s about transitions. … If you go to the gym and you workout and you come back, and you look in the mirror, you will see nothing. And if you go to the gym the next day and you come back and you look in the mirror, you will see nothing, right? … Or if you fundamentally believe that this is the right course of action and you stick with it, like in a relationship. I bought her flowers and I wished her happy birthday and she doesn’t love me, clearly I’ll give up. You know? That’s not what happens. … You could screw it up, … you know it allows for that. But if you stick with it consistently, I’m not exactly sure what day, but I know you’ll start getting into shape. … It’s not about intensity it’s about consistency. … It’s the daily practice of all the monotonous, little, boring, things like brushing your teeth that matter the most.”

1 Yes, that is a Jesus reference. Idk what else to say about it.

Maybe I’ll do a post on goal setting later.

Daniel Triumph.

Internal Dialogue (poem)

I don’t have time
to do this and that
I have to study

But I read too slow
so studying takes
all of my time.

I’ll learn
to speed read

Speed reading reduces retention.
It’s just skimming.
Tai Lopez doesn’t read a book a day
he just skims.

Looks like reading faster takes practice
like any other skill

The only way to speed up is
to read a lot
of difficult texts.
For months!

Which means I have months
maybe years of slow reading ahead.

At least I don’t have to worry
about trying to read faster
I read university textbooks
It will happen on it’s own

Maybe.

So, class, studying, and on top of that
I want to maintain this blog

It’s my longest lasting project
I wouldn’t have worked so hard
If it meant nothing.

I guess I have no objections

At the moment.

But if I’m reading
all the time then

There is no free time.

Write into the night.
Then just
write into your sleep!

I of all people should know that when I don’t get enough sleep, I read slower, retention drops further, I can’t focus in class. That means studying cuts into, or erases, time for the blog, or the quality of the blog.

Okay.
I was wrong, I need sleep.
Otherwise I get like that.
But then what?

I’ll figure everything out with
time management using
the agenda
Then I can see what’s going on
and make room for everything

Oh look, the agenda’s full.
Now I have actual proof
that there’s no time.

I don’t know what to do about this.

Uhhg. You know this part of the mind
doesn’t like doing actual work,
Just criticizing!

Anyway

Why not put the blog into the agenda.
If it’s important, it should hold
equal footing with anything else.

That’s genius
Man I’m so smart

Yes I am.

Agreed

Wonderful.

Wait, if it was full before
I still have to make room.
By dropping something.

No no, it’s cool look
I had full days dedicated to things
that only take maybe half a day

I need to get used to this
I’ll have to adjust to managing time
I have time to do something else
after I’m done the first task

Instead of slacking.

My time has been getting choked off by a lot of things. I’m travelling this weekend, and I don’t know how that will go. Then I have a couple of essays to work on next week. On top of readings.

But, despite the drop from daily to a sort of bi-weekly posting schedule, I have managed to maintain this blog, so, hopefully I can keep it up during the next two weeks… and then into exams come December.

yep.

Anyway, for those following the Solune Prince, I have started the next chapter. I might also make an update post, or maybe a post on plot motivations or something. Either way, that particular narrative is a bit of a mess and fixing will take quite a bit of work. For now, it goes on as it is.

Although I have been outline and planning scenes and even acts since I started putting names in the titles (Act II, Scene xi), so at least I’m not just blind-writing like was the case with Evidence. (Kind of scared to go back and edit that one to be honest.)

Sometimes I think to cancel it though

But what I’ll learn through the process and by finishing is worth the fight!

Daniel Triumph.

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If you want, you can help me out on Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/DanielTriumph)

P.S.

I think the reason I’m doing poetry so much is because I’m reading poetry so much :[

The Bi-Cycle (My Submission, Part 2 of 2)

I’m trying to get into a creative writing course (finally!) at my university. I had to write a couple exercise pieces, so that’s what I’ll be sharing with you this weekend. Hopefully, after this chaotic week, I’ll be back on track. This is the poem half. It’s a little satirical of this sort of weird poetry, but it was part of the submission, so here it is.

Bisected

 

 

Like I said, it’s a little dumb. And also a little hilarious. I am not really a poet! Ahah… Anyway, had to use a screenshot, due to formatting getting completely ignored by WordPress. (Why, WordPress?)

Daniel Triumph.

Here’s part 1


If you can’t see the image, here’s an oddly-formatted text version. The _underscores_ are spaces.

bi
secting

_________buy
sect
_________ing

buy something
try something
bicycling

bicycle
bipedal

if you cut it
__________________down the middle,
it will remain
__________________symmetrical

a bisected bicycle.

The Snake (My Submission, Part 1 of 2)

Hello, all. I’m trying to get into a creative writing course (finally!) at my university. I had to write a couple exercise pieces, so that’s what I’ll be sharing with you this weekend. Hopefully, after this chaotic week, I’ll be back on track. For now, here is a short prose piece.

A snake, slithering through grass, will refuse to cross a spider’s web.

The snake, in avoiding a web of lies, it may call itself the nobler. Only one lie cannot hurt, it says.

The snake starts with this thought, but eventually it grows. One utterance to cover another, then another, then another, and the serpent lengthens.

And once it gets too long, it might turn around and bump into itself. Game over.

But even so, a chain of deceit is more virtuous than a web.

Like the serpent, we find morality in our leaning tower of lies. We’re better than the spider, creating its network of tales and never getting caught. It’s okay to be a snake, getting caught is a form of honesty.

The serpent is the only noble creature.

Daniel Triumph.

Part 2 Here.

an internal and depressed discourse

This is a personal blog post, not a story 😮

and I think the worst part about being depressed is that you question your fundamentals.

Why am I in University? Why for English? Why not Biology? Why pursue something you know for a fact isn’t your ‘passion’? But wait, isn’t passion built by doing something you like over and over until it sticks? Until you get really good? Do I actually like English?

Why did I even take the English degree? Well, when I actually bother to plan, I write a pretty mean essay. And, it’s something I can do decently whilst depressed (or so I tell myself). Whereas anyone who’s been depressed knows that math, at the very least, becomes very troublesome for the mind, no matter how talented you once were with it.

Also, I really like storytelling. I’ve created, since the later parts of high school, a large narrative world.

But wait, just because I’ve been world building for four years doesn’t mean it’s good. There’s a stark lack of documentation. And plus, look, the world was originally built to be experienced through roleplay, not reading. But wait, there’s a lot here that’s changed, that works better as a narrative than an interactive experience… right?

But wait, none of that matters. I’ve always had issues with characters, and they’re what really matter to me. I feel like in an RP setting, I can’t really express the entirety of a character, I can’t step in their shoes. It’s because they’re underdeveloped, isn’t it. I need to work more on revision, on revisiting character and developing them. But how?

I’m bad, right now, at writing fiction, and I don’t really love it… but I like it enough to do it. Maybe that’s enough. Maybe I just need to learn, and let’s be real, YouTube makes for a thoroughly flawed teacher, especially when all the advice is given by people without credentials, whose work may or may not have any actual quality… How do you know it’s not the blind leading the blind?

Read their work? But I’m not a huge fan of reading, I mean, I read manga… but only sometimes.

That’s another peg against English as an area for study. I don’t really like reading all that much. Or maybe I’m just lazy? It’s hard to tell, because so far I’ve been an expert at avoiding the readings and not actually failing the courses. I… hope to change that and do the readings. Learn a bit about myself.

It’s very hard, to figure out what to do with myself, because, well, there’s no advice. And the only advice is wrong! Get a good paying job? And then what, torture yourself for the rest of your life as it slowly eats your soul?

I’ve realized that I’m very much an artist. My creativity right now is raw, altogether quite crappy. Worst of all, it’s inconsistent. I feel that… I should work more on the fundamentals of art. Writing? I need to learn more about structure and plotting, but especially on how to edit and rewrite.

When I look back, the only piece I really liked was Alice and Finch. So, I want to do the second draft of that as soon as possible. But beta readers…. don’t read. I feel like I’m editing in a bubble. But maybe it’s better that way? Maybe internalizing the mistakes as part of my overall structure is to be a signature of my writing? I don’t know. Maybe with enough revision, it’ll be great. But really, I need to get into the habit of revising. At that might come at the expense of blog post frequency, I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll post second drafts.

Or should I save it until I sell it? Should I self publish? Or perhaps, should I get an agent and go big? All the books that turned into movies, that actually got exposure to the masses were traditional, weren’t they? I don’t know. I’ll have to make a whole post on this debate, I’m still on the fence. I’m really thinking I should do both.

For drawing? Well, I think we can all accept that my art isn’t amazing. Some of it worse than others. Most frustrating is that I can’t seem to draw what I want all of the time. Sometimes what I draw becomes complete garbage, and feel like I’ve lost the talent entirely, by neglecting it.

Take this pair for example, both drawings of the same character, Yaska. On the left is the one I drew first. It was all wrong. Quality aside, it just wasn’t the correct face. The Plainkind isn’t Yaska. On the right is a much better drawing, at the very least more accurate. But I can’t get Yaska to look like Yaska every time, and it’s frustrating. I don’t know how people do it, but my guess is that it’s a good handle on the fundamentals.

So, I have a lot of work to do between the two arts, but then time’s an issue.

Even depressed, and questioning everything, being unable to figure out what’s best for me, I have a semblance for what “the dream” is. It’s that I can just explore art, take those readings or performances to heart, and then write off of it.

I just got back from a public literary reading at my university. I wasn’t a huge fan of all of the poetry, but I really liked some of it. The reading inspired me to write this post, that I need to write. I need to learn.

I need to learn about the fundamentals, and about revision.

Specifically, the fundamentals of visual arts, and the planning and revision process of writing.

Walking to the library, I thought about this, the dream. If I could dedicate all my time to experiencing art, and then making art… that’s the dream! The inhibitors are time, time to learn both writing and drawing to my fullest potential, and money. But, both are overcome if I manage to generate a livable income doing them.

So maybe English is the right path? Or maybe history? Because as much as I like Biology, it’s tangential to art. I can do that through independent research… hopefully. (Or marry someone who’s taken biology, I joke to myself.)

At the moment, it is simply vital that I improve. Oh, and figure out what the hell to major! (Looks tentatively at History.)

Daniel Triumph.

If you want, you can help me out on Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/DanielTriumph), although you might want to wait until I’ve improved, huh? 🙂

I should outline The Solune Prince in more depth, so that it’s a better read for everyone.