I thought I was going to drive over a little baby that was crawling across the street.
“What little baby?” my driving instructor said.
Well, what IF there was a little baby? And what if I don’t brake?
“Why wouldn’t you brake?”
So many questions! It’s hard to drive a 2 ton metallic vehicle at 70 miles an hour in an empty school parking lot. And then go on a highway for the first time. And then parallel park!
There could be babies anywhere. Why WOULDN’T there be a baby trying to crawl across the street?
The driving instructor, who was my dad, looked ahead. At some point he said something about kids in Soviet Russia. I don’t know. I wasn’t paying attention. I had to focus on the babies.
Why are you driving so slow? My dad asked me.
Didn’t he understand the danger?
Now, of course, I regularly kill babies while I’m driving at 70 miles per hour, while simultaneously drinking my coffee and texting on my phone, and I don’t even notice.
100s of babies. I get points when I run over babies. I get even more points if I run over the babies and they live. The goal is to win the game with the most points.
Who even cares if I kill all the babies that are crawling all over the highway. I still see them in my mind’s eye. They are everywhere.
But I have enough experience to know now that when I run over them by the dozens that nobody will care, nobody will notice, nobody will ever miss the babies.
It’s the same thing with blogging.
This is my 500th blog post. And I’m scared to hit a baby when I write this post. Ever since my first post, I don’t hit “Publish” unless I’m scared.
Someone asked me the other day what I thought of a particular blog post written by some random guy. I looked at it and thought it was very bad.
The writer had a lot of ego. He started off bragging about his accomplishments. Then he gave a “top 10 blah blah” like “top 10 ways to be the best you can be” or something like that. But he didn’t give any personal stories.
I want to know when the blogger was the WORST he ever was. The absolute WORST. And what technique he used to get over it.
Maybe he should start, “I only felt truly alive when smoking crack with homeless girls” and the steps he took so he could feel truly alive in other situations, like when he was eating oatmeal by himself.
I want to learn how to not be lonely.
I want to know how to feel at peace when my heart is racing in anger over something she said, or he did, or they wanted. Or how to be calm when my bank account is going down. Or how to think “yes” when the people I want to love me tell me “no”.
I want to learn how to make better decisions. So I don’t end up in a gutter with a needle sticking out of my eyeball.
I want to know how to feel alive!
When Kamal told me he was nervous about writing his book, nervous about what people would think of him, I told him, I ONLY write when I am nervous about what people will think. Then he wrote my favorite book.
And people will THINK. Believe me.
People will think I’m a bad parent. Or a loser. Or I used to write better.
Or people will say “James is a scam”. Or people will say “his writing is ADHD” whatever that means. Or they will say “he just tries to provoke” or people will say “he’s a criminal” or people will say “why do they even let him live” or sometimes they will say to me (yesterday) “you have asshole powers” or people will say (yesterday) “you look like a jackass”.
And I get afraid. Will this post be better than the last? Will it be my best ever or my worst ever? Am I revealing too much? Am I helping people? Am I helping people but still telling a story? Is it a good story?
I’m scared every time I sit down to write. I’m ashamed every time I hit “publish”.
500 posts in… What if I run out of stories? What if I run out of things to say? Will I jump the shark?
“James Altucher rubs me the wrong way! I HATE him.”
Why!? I don’t understand. What did I do?
I hit “Publish”.