Websites Writing

Investing time in longform writing

Liked Novelist as a Vocation by Robin Rendle (

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.

Cohousing Getting Shit Done Lifestyle

Defining done

Liked The Magic of Index Cards: How to Know When Something Is Done by Written By Anna Havron (

In an intentional community, you have to put expectations in writing. You have to have transparent standards that everyone can see.

[W]e also had index cards posted in each common room…with a cleaning checklist. Those index cards took the vague word “clean” (which means different things to different people) and spelled out precisely what it meant for any given room.

Figuring this kind of checklist out…settles two questions and makes the answers transparent and visible:

  • Is the room clean enough?

  • Is the job done?

Personal Growth

No More Problems

Liked Are we there yet? by Oliver Burkeman (

I think virtually everyone, except perhaps the very Zen or very old, goes through life haunted to some degree by the feeling that this isn’t quite the real thing, not just yet – that soon enough, we’ll get everything in working order, get organised, get our personal issues resolved, but that till then we’re living what the great Swiss psychologist Marie-Louise von Franz called the “provisional life.”

“Are you still under the illusion that you’ll one day reach a point in your life where you no longer have any problems?”

Hahahahahahahahaha 🙃 yeah I sometimes fall prey to this magical wishful thinking.

Yet they rarely escape the trap of implying that once a habit’s been implemented, it’ll become totally automatic – and life’s suffering, at least in that domain, will have ended for good.

Makes me think of Fight Club: “You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life. Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you’re satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you’ve got your sofa issue handled.” – Chuck Palahniuk

Allow yourself to imagine what it might feel like to know you’d never fully get on top of your work, never become a really disciplined exerciser or healthy eater, never resolve the personal issue you feel defines your life’s troubles.

Getting Shit Done

Feeling like You’re Making Progress on Big Projects

Liked How to Feel Progress by Jocelyn K. Glei (

As humans, we can’t help but be goal-oriented. We love to move forward. We love to feel a sense of momentum. And, more than anything, we love to tick things off a list.
This manifests as something called completion bias, a happy-making hit of dopamine that we get whenever we r…

Hofstadter’s Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.

Simpler ways of tracking progress could include:

  • Making a Post-It grid of all your tasks.
  • Track metrics on a daily calendar.
  • Write in a diary for 5 minutes a day… You simply make a practice of writing for just a few minutes at the end of each workday, noting down both your “small wins” and any setbacks. Then, at the end of the week or the month, flip back through your notes and see how far you’ve come.
Personal Growth

The Weight of Finishing

Quoted Out There: On Not Finishing (Longreads)

What happens if the stories we tell ourselves about our lives leave us lonely, wrestling with meaning?

We talked about how I have a desire to tell a specific story: a story of perseverance, a story I have been telling myself for so long as a way to make sense of my own life, as a way to prove, to myself, that I could love myself, and deserve the love of others. For a long time I have believed that love and joy come after. They come after accomplishment. They come after pursuit. They don’t live in the present. They have to be earned.

I didn’t want to be doing, I wanted to be done, so that when I was done, I could say I did a thing. … Accomplishment happens in an instant. Accomplishment is awarded the moment the finishing is done. But being out there takes a long time, and if it is only done for the sake of accomplishment, then it feels like an even longer, more painful time.

And yet: when was the last time anyone ever told a man to be ordinary? Think of the difference that would make, to begin to dismantle our need to be heroes, to finish things, to consider ourselves defined by accomplishment, particularly in a world where women make less money on the dollar and yet are defined, in settings both casual or professional, by what they have done or failed to do.

How, then, can we learn to love the ocean that signifies duration, the ocean that takes time? How can we acknowledge the plot when it calls for us to be ordinary? It takes a certain kind of grace to give yourself permission to do this, a certain kind of grace to say to yourself I’ve done enough, and sit down for a second, a minute, a day, a long time.

There is something about finishing that our culture is obsessed with. I even think of finishing school, that age-old culture-training course for women to enter into society. For them, finishing manifested itself as a right-to-enter. Which is the case so often, isn’t it? The act of finishing allows someone in society to enter into another realm of society.

Meaning unshared is barely meaning at all.

— Devin Kelly

I have been working, the past few years, on separating my self worth from my accomplishments and accepting that I am enough as I am. It doesn’t matter if I never finish writing my book. It doesn’t matter that I’m “a nobody.” It doesn’t diminish my value to lead an ordinary, simple life.

It’s tricky sometimes to balance this recognition with the fact that I do have goals I want to accomplish. To recognize that what I am doing is hard and there is value to doing it but also that the value in finishing it is not tied to my value.