Writer’s Wednesday: 101 Secrets For Your Twenties by Paul Angone
101 Secrets For Your Twenties written by Paul Angone is a funny, often profound book full of insights to your twenties. Fundamentally your twenties is a time to experiment and build the foundation for the rest of your life – it is not the time where everything will fall into place and be perfect. And that’s a relief.
If you don’t already read Paul Angone’s blog, All Groan Up, go do so. It is rather representative of the book as well. I recommend starting with 21 Secrets For Your Twenties, which is the article that made Paul Angone and the site famous.
There were times I felt there was a bit too much religion in there, just so you know. I would still heartily recommend it though, especially to those of you who are, you know, in your twenties.
As a writer, I used to be bummed about all the time and effort I spent writing hundreds of pages that would never see the light. But as I grew as a writer I learned that you have to write a lot of really atrocious firstdrafts before you can find the story you need to tell. Our 20s are the same way. For many years it will be about getting words down on paper that we’ll edit later. Plans will fail because that’s part of Frightful First Draftdom. But five rewrites later, we’ll lean back and say, “Wow, that’s actually not too bad.” We have to be willing to allow ourselves to write some terrible first drafts. You can’t have a good story without a good struggle. If we keep trying to live other people’s lives, who is going to live ours? If we’re always trying to live like we’re “supposed to,” we’re never going to truly live. Insecurities don’t just disappear with age. No—they become more pronounced and ingrained. We must actively face these insecurities and work on removing the root, or the weeds will just keep growing back. We need to sail our own ship instead of drowning trying to swim to everyone else’s. Complaining and creating have a direct correlation. The more you create, the less you complain. The more you complain, the less you create. It’s a pretty simple formula. Complaining is passive and powerless. Creating is proactive and powerful. We learn that sometimes life will dismantle you so that you can be rebuilt. We spend so much energy worrying about what other people think, when honestly they’re not really thinking about us at all. We spend so much time making our lives look virtually appealing, when maybe we should spend more time, you know, actually making our lives. Are you freaked out that you have no idea what you’re doing? Perfect! So is everyone else. Even the so-called experts sometimes don’t have a clue. Sometimes they have simply mastered the art of Perceived Credibility. “Stop worrying about finding the right person. Instead, start working on becoming the right person.” I wanted to find someone to heal from my insecurities, when I really needed to heal from my insecurities, so that I could find someone. Naomi loves saying, “We get to create our marriage.” And I think she’s right. Marriage doesn’t define us, we define it.