Categories
Websites Writing

Investing time in longform writing

Liked Novelist as a Vocation by Robin Rendle (robinrendle.com)

As I was reading Murakami’s book I realized that I’ve trained myself for a certain kind of writing: short, tiny things that are self-contained. They only take an hour or two to write as I’m so focused on the production of writing (getting a blog post or newsletter out into the world) that I tend to ignore what these things might be if I gave them a bit more time. Writing for me is a rushed, hurried thing; something to be done on a plane or at the back of a cafe. My writing is frantic, sporadic, infrequent.

This tends to be how I blog; longer pieces that need more than one writing session molder in my drafts folder. I have 40 unfinished posts there now.

I need a process for returning to them and finishing them. Because rushing to cross it off my mental list can mean I’m not giving ideas the time they need to process.

Categories
Getting Shit Done Lifestyle

Who do you give power over your time?

Bookmarked The Imperfectionist: Because the bell rings by Oliver Burkeman (ckarchive.com)

And so the risk is that a period with the potential to be absorbingly delightful…becomes something to “get through” instead – an obstacle one must get past before “real life” can resume, simply because it can’t be made to conform to how you think your days ought to go.

The more general… point here is that there’s often a deep tension between the desire many of us feel to exert control over our time – because we believe, if perhaps only subconsciously, that something will go very wrong if we don’t do so – and the possibility of actually being fully absorbed in that time. So it’s not really that the Christmas holiday gets in the way of real life. That would be absurd: Christmas is part of my real life, and a part I cherish. It’s my desire to control things that causes the real trouble.

Your family?

Your boss?

Your friends?

Your community?

Wanting to absolutely control our time conflicts with wanting to be part of community, and sharing experiences with others.

Burkeman discusses the conflict between community, efficiency and convenience in Four Thousand Weeks as well. Individualism puts our focus on ourselves and our personal productivity, but can lose us the experience of being part of a whole. When our own goals take precedence, it’s easy to distance ourselves through resentment of loss of control or treat activities as items on a checklist that must be done before we can get back to the real stuff.

(I say this also as someone who believes in setting boundaries with family and not doing things merely to placate others’ demands. So when you do agree to do something, it’s important to commit to the experience with intentionality.)

Categories
Getting Shit Done

Monk Mode: time-limited commitments

Liked How to Change Your Momentum in a Week or Two by David Cain (raptitude.com)

Monk Mode, as I conceive of it, is a way of leveraging this principle to a less intense degree. You still focus on a certain kind of self-development work for a short period (perhaps writing, meditating, practicing piano, or lifting barbells), you still commit to a list of no-no’s during that time (perhaps no alcohol, no social media, or no sugar), but aside from that you live life normally.

Essentially you’re committing to a new lifestyle standard in certain respects, but for a short enough time that you can sustain the effort to the end.

Similar but more intense / concentrated version of his Depth Year idea.

Categories
Learning Lifestyle

The Second Price

Liked Everything Must Be Paid for Twice (Raptitude.com)

One financial lesson they should teach in school is that most of the things we buy have to be paid for twice.

There’s the first price, usually paid in dollars, just to gain possession of the desired thing, whatever it is: a book, a budgeting app, a unicycle, a bundle of kale.

But then, in order to make use of the thing, you must also pay a second price. This is the effort and initiative required to gain its benefits, and it can be much higher than the first price.

A new novel, for example, might require twenty dollars for its first price—and ten hours of dedicated reading time for its second. Only once the second price is being paid do you see any return on the first one. Paying only the first price is about the same as throwing money in the garbage.

I believe this is one reason our modern lifestyles can feel a little self-defeating sometimes. In our search for fulfillment, we keep paying first prices, creating a correspondingly enormous debt of unpaid second prices. Yet the rewards of any purchase – the reason we buy it at all — stay locked up until both prices are paid.