Right now I’m just trying to get some thoughts down to try and build a daily publishing practice. I’ve been writing every day but it’s still ended up being mostly just private writing. I want to build up the muscle of writing daily. I’ve built up a habit of reviewing highlights in Readwise so I thought I could use that as a cue to add to.
Recently I’ve felt like I need to be taking more action on all the information I’m consuming, even if that means just writing up some notes for things.
So here goes nothing.
“Where there is work to do, turn your hand to it first; the men will follow. Some of you, I see, have erected tents. Strike them at once. We will all sleep as I do, in the open. Keep your men busy. If there is no work, make it up, for when soldiers have time to talk, their talk turns to fear. Action, on the other hand, produces the appetite for more action.”
— Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield
That’s sort of what I’m trying to do here. My tent, my hiding place, is often in all of that private writing. In all the different notes and docs that I have where I’m procrastinating by planning.
Jon Acuff ttalks about hiding places:
“If you ever have to do a complicated, multistep explanation to say why what you’re doing is valuable, it probably isn’t. You’re probably actually camping out in the kind of hiding place that masquerades as productivity.”
— Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff
I’m not a perfectionist but I still have that fear of sharing things a little too early. (Not on this blog, though, clearly.)
I often want to share some idea that I heard in a podcast and then the noble obstacle that gets in the way is trying to find the verbatim quote instead of just paraphrasing. I don’t want to misrepresent the person’s idea.
Hunting down a specific quote from a podcast becomes 10-100x more difficult if you don’t excerpt it immediately.
And I sort of can’t stop sometimes. I remember a few nights where I just got plastered to the couch for 2-3 hours going through old podcast episodes on my phone trying to find some idea and not exactly remembering who said it or what podcast it was on.
A specific example: this idea from Nick Santora about 5 weekends a year:
“I’ve had a conversation with my oldest daughter multiple times where I’ve said the difference between winners and losers is five weekends a year.
And it’s 5 weekends… it’s 10 days. And it’s not working all day, every day. It’s 12 hours each day. So it’s 120 hours a year… Is the difference between a winner and a loser.
I write many weekends a year. I do it early in the morning before my kids are awake. And that’s the difference between having one job and having one job and getting a book out.”
— Nick Santora
A couple years ago I took forever trying to hunt this quote down.
Anyway, the “difference between having one job and having one job and getting a book out” reminded me of Matthew Dicks talking about finding time for yourself.
He talks about a woman who was more interested in finding excuses not to write than to find time to write:
“I’d like to tell her that she doesn’t actually want to write. She wants to “have written.” She’s fond of what she imagines the writing life to be — midmorning visits to the coffee shop to splash a few hundred words on the page before enjoying a late lunch with friends — but she’s not prepared to do the actual work required to produce something worthy of people’s time and money, nor is she passionate enough to engage in the craft in those less-than-ideal moments. Writers can’t help but write, I want to tell her. They don’t wait to write. They are compelled to write.”
— Someday is Today by Matthew Dicks
Okay so that’s that. A little bit of action.
A little bit of time outside of my weather-proof, comfortable tent of “planning”.