Writer's block doesn’t exist, writing habits do

First of all, if you follow this blog via RSS, sorry for the sudden cascade of content that has come your way since August 22. I know it's not what you're used to. 

When I didn't get a spot at the Vipassana retreat starting that date, I realized I’ve been subconsciously holding back, waiting for it.  Falling into a classic mental trap, thinking that after Vipassana, my mind will be clear and creating will be easier. Total delusion, of course. I still did my work, but I hardly pushed myself the way I could have.

Waiting has its purpose at times. Not the case here. It was clearly an excuse. Which I thankfully understood the same day it was supposed to start. Not getting to do my ten days in silence was exactly the lesson I needed. 

Since that day I’ve published a post per day. It’s far from as good as I want it to be. Sometimes it pains me to hit that publish button. Not much to do when you're out of time and it has to go out. It’s a muscle you have to work with, build up, make it stronger.

In this episode, Cal Fussman interviews Seth Godin. I’ve heard him talk about how there’s no such thing as writer's block before, and just having that idea in your head is helpful. One of his additional stories here, is that if you type every day, some is going to be good, some is going to be bad, but eventually, the brain will get tired of the bad stuff and give you some good stuff. 

That connected a few dots for me. I started practicing morning journaling a year ago. Some days it’s pure nonsense. A list of things I did the day before, perhaps. Other days, I dive into a problem I’m struggling with, and just by putting it into words on a page, it flips my perspective. It’s for my eyes only. No prestige, no censorship, no shame. Just put it all out all out there. 

The habit of writing has been there, publishing it for others to read, however, that’s a whole different type of work. Sharing it publicly creates a threshold. If you do it frequently enough, that threshold will be easy to step over. If you are like me and share two posts per year, that threshold is equal to climbing K2. It’s a lotta work, man. 

The funny thing though, is how that process only took two weeks to feel easier. Sure, the gap between the quality I aspire to be and where I actually am is far wider than I'd like it to be. It still takes me a fair amount of time to write and edit. But, I can tell I'm gaining from it. This habit makes me pay attention, ask more questions, forcing me to dig deeper into how I think. 

I blog every day. I don’t blog because I have something to say, I have something to say because I have a blog.
— Seth Godin

To wrap this up, I would like to recommend this short post from Derek Sivers, which I’ve reread several times since he published it. It’s a good reminder - you don’t need confidence, just contribution.