I’m currently trying to build a writing habit. My framework for doing so looks like this:
- Writing at least one sentence a day (this is my minimum viable habit).
- Scheduling explicit time each day for writing (see: implementation intentions).
- Quitting while I’m ahead.
- Publishing often.
My goal is not to write for a living. There seems to be a lot of value in being a good writer, regardless of one’s career and interests. Better writing leads to better thinking.
[B]eing a good writer is about more than writing. Clear writing is a sign of clear thinking. Great writers know how to communicate. They make things easy to understand. They can put themselves in someone else’s shoes. They know what to omit.Rework, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
The main benefit I’m getting from regular writing comes in clarifying my own thoughts, which are less well defined than I had thought. Since I’ve been writing daily, I’ve been accumulating drafts on topics which I thought I had a well defined opinion about. I have been consistently proven wrong. This is either because (a) an inherent contradiction in my thinking was not apparent until I had to write it down or (b) I have a hard time justifying my beliefs when it’s time to explicitly put them on paper.
So, while the framework above is effective at getting me to write everyday, I am consistently failing at the fourth step: publish often. Perhaps the real value comes from the act of writing alone. But I don’t think this is true.
The benefit of publishing ideas for the world to see is to get feedback quickly. There is value in thinking out loud. People can correct you in real time, point out flaws in your reasoning, ask questions you didn’t think of. Ideas can evolve quicker this way.
Rather than let my thoughts sit in the drafts folder, collecting dust while I iterate back and forth in my own head, I hope to take my own advice by lowering my expectations and publishing more often.