Nothing is Useless

Something that seems completely pointless can often turn out to be incredibly useful.

At first glance, the above statement seems like a contradiction. If something is pointless, how can it possibly be useful? Well, the best way I can think of to illustrate this is with a story.

When I was eight, I started writing my first novel, called "The Intrepid". It took about a year to complete, and it ended up being 118 pages long. For an eight-year-old I suppose it wasn't bad, but in the grand scheme of things it was nothing to brag about. There were so many characters that even I started to lose track, and the plot was completely random. Parts of it were downright ridiculous, and the dialogue was positively cringeworthy. In short, compared to most books, it was pretty awful.

Despite all this, it is the most useful book I have ever written in my life.

Just let that sink in. That silly little novel, courtesy of my hyperactive eight-year-old self, is the most useful book I have ever written.

Let me explain. When I first started writing "The Intrepid", I could not type more than about three words a minute. I used the index finger of my right hand to poke each key ... after I'd spent several moments trying to find it on the keyboard. At first, I could only type about a sentence in the fifteen minutes per day I had to write.

But then it started to get faster. And faster. And now, even though I still type with just my right hand, I now type over 40 words per minute. So, technically, "The Intrepid" taught me how to type, which is an essential skill for any author.

And that's just the practical side of things. By writing "The Intrepid", I learned about passive vs active sentences. I learned about good grammar and punctuation. I learned about cliffhangers, character development, pacing and indexes. I even came up with a name which later became the name of the villain in the latest Super Sporty book -- Tombulus Mako. Surely, this book, which will never be anything to anybody, and which will certainly never be published, is the best, most useful book I have ever written -- the one that started it all.

So the next time you think you've spent ages doing something that seems useless, try to look at it in a different way. Learn from it. Grow because of it. Then, you will not simply do better next time; you will do amazingly!

Bird Brains and bird poop -- the glorious madness of The Intrepid

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