You can’t hide mediocrity behind quantity

Publishing everyday isn’t the skill I need to develop. Writing everyday is.

Trying to publish everyday was certainly challenging and it pushed me to sit down and spend more time in front of the keyboard than I probably would have otherwise. I got a little bit better at quickly identifying something to write about and cranking out something coherent. Being able to write clearly and cogently is definitely a useful skill, but it’s also one that is squarely in my comfort zone. It seems like I’ve always been able to write quicker and at greater length than most people (I remember all the dirty looks my friends gave me during in-class essay tests in high school).

“I don’t know if what I’m doing is any good, or if I’m even capable of doing something excellent, so instead I’m going to create more ‘pretty good’ stuff than you think is even possible for one person to create and you will probably be impressed.”

This approach to creative work is a way for me to hide from the uncomfortable reality that doing great work requires skills I’ve yet to master — patience, editing, and taste, to name a few. My experiment of writing and publishing everyday was helping me develop skills I already had while letting me ignore skills I find uncomfortable.

“I can’t edit this piece for clarity or impact! I told myself that I’d publish something everyday! I can’t tackle a trickier idea because I don’t have the time to really tackle it the right way!”

With this new understanding still settling into my brain I’ve decided to embark on a new experiment. I’m still aiming to write everyday but I will no longer expect to publish something everyday. I’m hesitant to put an official interval on my publishing efforts, but I’m shooting for publishing something roughly every week or so. I want to give myself time to step away from a first draft, revisit with fresh eyes, rewrite and edit as needed, and put something into the world that I can be proud of on its own and not just because I wrote it quickly. I want to take the time to write articles that take me more than one session to draft because they require more careful thinking and care.

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