Things I learned when I stopped writing every day

  • Writing, like most things worth doing, benefits from momentum and momentum is more about frequency/consistency than quality. It’s impossible to write the best thing you’ve ever written every day, but even writing something so-so every day has residual effects that spill beyond the boundaries of that individual writing session. I stopped writing every day because I felt like I was “using up” time and words that could be better spent on tougher pieces of writing. Turns out when I stop doing that I tend to stop writing entirely.
  • Writing is part of my identity and when I don’t do it I don’t feel like myself. I’m decidedly average at a lot of different things that are relevant to my professional life. Writing is one of the few things I can point to and say, “You are good at this.” So when I don’t do it I’m basically handicapping myself in my quest to make a positive impact in the world.
  • Writing generates more ideas. Somebody who doesn’t write frequently might think that writing consumes ideas but my experience is the opposite. It’s a very rare writing session where I don’t add two or three topics to my “spark list.” Writing prepares my mind to have ideas and make connections. I start seeing creative ideas and concepts everywhere. When I’m writing and publishing everyday it’s like they know they have an avenue to being made real so they pop into existence easily and in high numbers.
  • Much of my work requires wading through ambiguity and uncertainty. Working with clients on a day-to-day basis, often in highly emotional contexts, means that a lot of my work is amorphous and hard and its hard to feel a sense of progress. Writing is a process with a beginning, middle, and an end. It starts with nothing and results in something. When I’m not writing I don’t get to feel those I-made-something-feelings very often. Those feelings feel good. I need them.

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