Writing about writing—by the Write Source staff

20 Million Neurons in 2009

In the January 2009 edition of Esquire, the great American composer Philip Glass offers the following pithy observations:

I work every morning without fail.
You practice and you get better. It’s very simple.
I was not always the brightest bulb in the tree. I was a hard-working guy, but in my opinion, I was not one of the most talented people at Juilliard. I didn’t have that brilliance that some people really have, but I had a tremendous appetite for the work.
Motivation will make up for a lot of failings.

He may not have always been the brightest bulb, but now Philip Glass is more than bright: He’s brilliant. He’s one of only a handful of modern classical composers who have a household name.

But if he wasn’t born brilliant, how did he become brilliant?

Work. An appetite for the work. Practice.

That’s my hope. Some people are born millionaires and some people are self-made millionaires. I wasn’t born a genius, so I’m trying to make myself into one. But how?

By choosing to do something—in my case, writing—and then doing it. Doing it routinely, religiously.

At first I wasn’t any good at it. Fine. I did it anyway because I had an appetite for the work. I kept going until I was better than average. Twenty published novels later, I’m still going, hoping I can become better than most. And maybe, someday, if I work hard enough, I’ll be brilliant.

How’s that for a New Year’s resolution—not just to lose 20 pounds but to gain 20 million neurons?

And even if I never shine like Glass, there are other rewards, as the great composer himself points out:

What I’ve noticed is that people who love what they do, regardless of what that might be, tend to live longer.

So, even if writing doesn’t turn me into a household name in 2009, it may keep me kicking around the house in 2069.

—Rob King

One Response to “20 Million Neurons in 2009”

  1. Maria Says:

    Hey this is very inspirational. I love it! Good luck with your writing.

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