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Two Paths to Being a Writer

Question from a reader -

You have maintained your commitment to being prolific which is made even more exceptional by the fact you are travelling around the world at the same time.

I realise your article on being prolific is about this, but accepting that I'm going to release a lot of crap before I realise something good is a tough wall to knock down. My biggest issue writing anything seems to be that it feel insufficent. Naturally no post I write has the length of Steve Yegge, the persuasiveness of Paul Graham, the content of Unqualified Reservations etc. etc. and while I can consciously accept this, there seems to be some mental block. How do you go "that's sufficient" and release it into the wild?

There's two basic approaches to being successful as a writer. The first, we could call the "Paul Graham / Derek Sivers" approach. This is where you explore a lot of ideas privately, go forward with the best ideas you have, and edit and polish the hell out of everything before you release it into the world. If you do this, and you've got talent as a writer, and you've got important ideas - then you're going to consistently only release masterpieces.

The second way is to just write a hell of a lot and know that a number of the things you write will turn out quite well, but your average quality level will be much lower. We could call this the "write every day no matter what" approach.

Getting myself to write

On Julien Campion (EN)

Today I was writing a blog post, and it felt like I was going everywhere at once in the sense that I talked about too many things and I sensed the post was going to be huge like the ones I've put out already, and I don't really want that to happen. Instead I've tried cutting out one piece of that post and making it a post in itself. Enjoy!

I love my blog. Um, that sentence sounded weird. Nah, what I meant is that I love what this blog brings to me and to the world. But I do have struggles with taking care of it.

Even though I find the existence of this blog to be an amazing thing, I still have to get myself to write a post every week, in the sense that I'm not naturally inspired to write something. In other words, yes, I do procrastinate when I have to write a blog post for the week. As a matter of fact, right now it is Tuesday and the time is 22:50. I'm writing the post, and I'll have to translate it tomorrow, and it must get published in 24 hours.

Here's one of the reasons for it. I'm not a natural writer, if such a thing does exist. Expressing myself on paper (or in front of a computer, in this case) has never been my strong point. I was always playing with my thoughts in my head to the point that explaining them to someone else seemed hard and tiresome, and also a bit useless.

You could see this blog as a way for me to get my thoughts to come out. But anyway, the point is that explaining my thought process to others has become increasingly hard. As an example, when I get to write a post about a topic I've thought about, I always end up writing a lot more than I initially thought because everything I'm explaining here basically seems like a given to me at this point. I've already written quite a bit, but we're only at one third of what I wanted to say!

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