The writing every day problem
The problem that I’m facing, trying to write every day, is a classic one—finding the balance between quality and output.
I announced that I was going to publish a blog post every day on Jan 1st 2021. I just wanted to get into the habit of writing regularly, because I had been planning to write a screenplay for years and had done nothing about it.
Be that as it may, I had a great start in that I wrote for about twenty days without a break. I spent most part of the day writing. Also, it was my first time. So I needed a lot of time to come up with ideas. I allowed myself that.
I started running out of patience after a while, because it was taking too much of my time to write a blog post (and the better part of my day). I was not able to move on with my day. But the solution wasn’t that I stop, because there were so many examples of daily bloggers—some of them have now been doing it for decades!
I refused to believe that I couldn’t do the same; it has been five months now, I still refuse to.
I didn’t hold back and I kept going, but I started missing days after the initial twenty-day streak. And since then I have averaged at one post in two days. I even ‘recalibrated’ my daily writing challenge and declared that in my newsletter—to the 13.4 people who read it. But I failed to keep up. Again.
So it definitely is a ‘systems problem’. Wanting to write every day is my goal, but I need to address what is wrong with my system that isn’t letting me achieve this goal. (Here’s is a nice article by Scott Adams on this subject.)
There are two problems that I essentially face. Both are classic and are inter-related (and probably something all new writers face):-
- Perfection: I am unable to press publish until it feels ready; and ‘ready’ is hard to know. So sometimes I end up putting in a lot more hours of the day than I can, to write. And I end up missing it.
- Procrastination: This is the bigger problem I face; it is intrinsically linked to perfection. The moment it feels like what I have written isn’t publish worthy, I start procrastinating; so I am not able to bring myself to edit it, polish it and press publish. And it is just plain difficult sometimes, to sit my bottom down and write.
I also try to be ‘timeless’ in my articles. I don’t mean timeless like Shakespeare, because I’m not delusional. But I mean ‘timeless’ in the sense that a reader should find it relevant irrespective of space and time. (Wow, big words.) This is more practical than it is noble; it helps keep my blog relevant far into the future and also because I want to write like Shakespeare (OK that’s a joke, but I am delusional.) This takes current affairs off the list and also takes off the list anything that reads like—today I ate this, I did that, I met this person who was an asshole, etc.; posting for the sake of posting.
I am also always trying to have an insight in whatever I write—“what am I trying to say?” It needs to change the reader in an infinitesimal way (I don’t know where I stole this idea from). That is the stuff I like to read online. And this is just basic good writing.
But then there is this video by Jack Conte (mentioned it in this issue of my newsletter), which tries to put things in perspective; and insists on the importance of putting stuff out more than making stuff perfect. I tend to agree, but am finding it difficult to practice.
I feel a bit stuck trying to achieve publishing every single day.
There are only two solutions:
- I write whatever I can in a set time and press publish, no matter what.
- I withdraw from daily writing, and just write whenever I feel like.
I become an exceptional writer who is very very fast.
Especially, now that I am starting other projects like writing my screenplay in public, starting a vlog, it is only going to get more difficult. I will have to make a choice.
I often wonder if I am biting more than I can chew and if that is what people are thinking about me; but then I remind myself that that is how I eat when I am hungry.
And no one is thinking about me.