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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.

Three Strategies For More Writing In Less Minutes

Three Strategies For More Writing In Less Minutes

We had some wonderful sweeping discussions after the GiveGetWin Tour event in New York. Stepping out of the secluded wine bar we held the after-event in (and thus narrowly avoiding St. Patrick’s revelry), Zach Obront, Janet Lai Chang, Jason Shen, and I got some chicken.

The topic turned to writing. Everyone at the table writes more or less, and it’s at least a somewhat important part of all of our lives. All of my compatriots-in-chicken at the table are good writers and disseminate important thought and pull the world ahead with their pen or keyboard.

The topic turned to my recent wager, where I’m now firmly committed to writing daily for the next two years. I offered around to see if anyone else was interested in getting in on the bet — no? — but then, broadly, how much time does it take everyone to write?

And it comes that everyone at the table takes considerably longer than me to write.

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