Rasputin is one of those people in history whose life sounds like a ridiculous made for TV movie.
Except it’s all true.
He woke up one morning and was like “ yeah… I’m going to start a sex cult. “
The sex cult was so popular that he made his way into the Russian aristocracy, and eventually, became the most trusted advisor of the Romanovs just in time for the Russian Revolution.
He’s so wild that his fictional characterization tends to be less interesting than reality.
And no part of the story of Rasputin is more crazy than his death.
Or at least, his attempted death.
Because they tried seven different times to kill that fucker.
It didn’t take.
They tried so many times and failed.
As Phoenix said on Twitter — tag yourself.
Rasputin was almost impossible to kill because, paranoid freakshow that he was, he took daily doses of arsenic to prevent poisoning.
I can’t imagine it was fun to take arsenic on a daily basis.
Even in the non-lethal amounts.
But it was worth it to live forever, bro.
And to be able to freak his would be assassins out.
Why am I talking about this paranoid sex cult royalist?
Because when I got back from all of my family shit with tons of paid work looming, I had serious writer’s block.
I was like… “ Shit. Why do I write these emails anyway? “
I’d been avoiding setting goals for many different projects in my life.
That made it super easy to totally forget what I was doing when I took a break.
But there was another problem, one that took way more time to admit.
I stopped being comfortable with being embarrassed.
Writing, both the process and the act of sharing it, is deeply embarrassing, like anything that requires Being Known.
Writing on a timeline, a daily schedule, sharing that writing?
It’s shame city, baby! Population YOU.
So, when I stepped away from my goals for a while then came back…
Everything I tried to write felt deeply embarrassing.
Like… mega shameful.
Not just to share with other people, but even to write down.
Luckily, this has happened to me before.
And I knew exactly how to fix it.
That said, I don’t enjoy fixing it.
It feels kind of like microdosing arsenic.
It sucks, but it’s worth it to live forever*.
- Set a timer for 30 seconds.
- Take a deep breath.
- Write down the most embarrassing shameful ridiculous things you can think of.
- The things that you’re obsessed with, horrified by, can’t believe are in your brain.
It is critical at this point to not in ANY WAY imagine the use value of any of these thoughts.
We’re not trying to monetize intrusive thoughts.
( That’s a different blog post.)
Just write it out in a place that you do not have to share with anyone.
OK, just kidding, don’t do that.
But you can run around or something.
You did it!
That sucked hard, right?
But guess what?
That was your first dose of arsenic.
When you try this, a few things will happen:
- It will get easier to write immediately. You’ll look at the things you’ve written down, either immediately, or in a couple of days, and think “wow, … none of this is THAT weird.” Try to avoid sending yourself into another shame spiral for having normie intrusive thoughts.
- if you’re brutal? Pick one of the things you’ve written down and set another timer, this time for 20 minutes. Again, do not think about the use value of this writing! The use value of this writing right now is singular: arsenic microdosing.
- Do you really hate yourself? When you’re finished writing for 20 minutes: NOW it’s time to think about use value. Maybe this, once edited, can be part of your ridiculous newsletter where you send “ the monster at the end of this book” inspired tirades about cartoon characters to former coworkers. Maybe you put it in your rupi kaur rip off poetry. Or a Twitter thread. And of course, there’s always fanfiction. Do what you want. Just don’t chicken out, all right? Finish writing, finish editing. And then, in a low stakes but public way, hit “share”.
Here’s what’s going to happen once you do this:
You have canceled writers block forever.
You are invincible.
Once you do this enough?
First of all, you’ll realize how many of your weird shame spiral thoughts make zero fucking sense.
The world is chaotic and messy in a way that is completely different from the chaotic mess in your brain.
No one is going to cancel you because you didn’t talk about how important oral tradition is in some indigenous cultures, OK?
You’re going to get canceled by a 16-year-old for
a fundamental truth in your life, something you feel zero shame or compunction about.
This process sucks, yes.
It sucks to do the 30 second version, the 20 minute version, the “hit share” version.
And it sucks you have to do it over and over again, basically every time you doubt yourself.
But when I do this regularly?
When I remember that shame is not that interesting and not that rational?
My life gets a lot better.
Not just my writers block.
* stop avoiding your life.
PS — OK, I realize that this is kind of a lot to force yourself to do. I’m not demanding you send me all your shame thoughts, I don’t have an MSW.
BUT — if you tell me (by replying to this email) you are going to try this, I will follow up with you (in an agreed-upon timeframe). And using the skills I’ve cultivated by working with organizers for years, I will be annoying, and ask you about it gently but constantly until you do it.
So if you want to get over writer’s block… hit Reply.
Originally published at https://notesonfeednet.substack.com.