I’ve been writing every day for a week now. That means I consider myself qualified to reflect on what I’ve realized through it.
The self-centered perspective (some people might righteously say narcissistic) here is something I wanted to try out. I’m guessing it doesn’t work, but there’s no downside in getting it out anyways. Enjoy.
Yesterday, I made the decision to start writing on Quora on top of Medium and my personal blog. I don’t feel comfortable with writing — although I’m only a few days and about 20,000 words into doing it seriously.
It’s like I’m a little grasshopper in a desert full of monster trucks that give little regard whether or not they level me. There’s just so much good writing out there that it frightens me. It’s all so much better than what I have produced so far — a mere four mid-articles which I didn’t even enjoy writing. Have I not found the sweet spot yet?
Oh lord. Alas. What a surprise. Three days in and wondering why I haven’t become a master already. Okay, let’s calculate that real quick. If I write two hours per day and mastery is achieved through 10,000 hours of practice, it would only take me about 14 years to become a master. And I expect it to happen after a few days. Wow.
But is the path I’m taking the best one? How about I find a job that’s 90% satisfactory, but that pays well from the start and where I still get to do whatever I want for half of the day without having to worry about anything?
The hours when you’re not motivated are those that matter. And since motivation will not carry you through them, you’re going to need discipline. A lot of it. And still, you’re gonna find yourself stopping and quitting and pausing and doubting. It’s never over.
I know this is an essential part of the journey to the top. Isn’t this where I wanted to be?
I realize it sounds absolutely stupid to question what you’re doing five days in, but I’m just that much disappointed. I hadn’t imagined it like this. I had imagined it like sitting down and immediately entering into a flow state, returning into the world of mortals after a few hours, having created a dozen of epic 1,500-word pieces that not only are entertaining, but insightful and contain a actionable steps so they 1) get people to keep reading until the end, 2) prompt them to think deeply and 3) help them improve their lives.
After all, as much as I (or, rather, my ego) hate it, I’m not at a point where I can stream-of-consciousness (I love that verb) several hours of writing, especially not good writing. I’m simply not. I have to accept that having read 50 nonfiction books this year doesn’t make me the next Tim Ferriss, Ryan Holiday or Tony Robbins.
Do you know when I’m not doubting my plans? When I’m not doing them. Making new plans? Great. Life is going to get so easy. Three days in and not as easy as imagined? Shit, let’s try something new.
Here’s my resolution, though:
I need to get better at writing — so I knock out as many words as I can every day. It doesn’t matter that they’re shitty — they should be, because then I can throw them against the wall and see what I enjoy, what people like and what actually helps those people.
I need to get better at public speaking — so I force myself to step in front of the camera and talk about stuff. What? I don’t know. That’s something I have to learn, too. And I will not learn it by thought only. Inspiration may strike on some glorious days, but I create my own inspiration, which is way more powerful in the sum.
I need to get more comfortable with seeing myself on pictures — but since I’m not going to get any prettier in the near future (I’ll still keep trying), there’s only one way, and that’s to post pictures of myself regardless. One year down the road, I am not going to look any better. But I’m going to be a lot more comfortable with seeing myself on pictures — if I start posting them now.
I need to craft and refine a powerful message — so I get stuff out there and see what feels like my mission.
I need to get better at marketing — so I market, publishing my content in different varieties on all the channels there are to see what works and what doesn’t.
The more I fail, the more I learn. And in order to fail, I have to take action. It really is that simple. Whatever it is you want to achieve — you cannot get there merely by thought or reflection or prayer. You have to take action. A lot of it.
This is not about being ready. This is about having nothing but a little hope and self-confidence, and taking action regardless so that I can figure out what to do, and so that I receive feedback to reflect on. Reflection is great, and without it, action is stupid.
But it’s just as stupid to reflect and think without ever taking action — because there’s no way to receive feedback. I could retreat to a mountain cottage and think about my message, and use mental imaging techniques to make myself feel ready for teaching. But I still wouldn’t feel ready. And I wouldn’t make a tenth of the progress that I can make by factoring in feedback. Plus I would probably turn insane.
So, I just start doing even though I’m neither qualified nor feeling so. Even though I’m neither skilled nor confident in my abilities. I’m going in regardless. The only way up is forward.
My lazy mind, of course, has the great suggestion of just quitting most of this and focusing on writing. But I don’t really believe in that. See, I propose a different one: being hyper-focused. Morning commute? Reading on phone. Waiting before class? Reading on phone. Lunch break? Reading on phone, or going for a walk and listening to a podcast. Commute back home? You guessed right. That’s about one and a half hours of solid learning time in already. Add another half hour of reading to that at home, and I’m good for the day. Nap, and then onto the other tasks.
And then there’s weekends — and those are where the real magic happens. On weekends, I have time to edit all the raw output from the week into a few good pieces. That may take me about eight hours in total, spaced out into two-hour chunks across the weekend. And I have time to write a weekly wrapup for both my business and my personal life, looking back, reflecting and planning.
I can still maintain my output schedule on weekends, but I also have plenty of time to step back and just think, to analyze data and plan experiments, to see trends and adjust accordingly. Weekends are when I make plans. Weekends are thinking time. And during the week, I just execute based on the thinking done on weekends. There’s no time to reflect much.
I think that’s a great balance, and will enable me to produce a few good text and video pieces — after all, I’m going to have 14,000 words and 3.5 video hours of raw material at my fingertips every weekend to shape into something great. And no, I will not be able to triple down on either writing or video making. But I can double down on both of them. If I’m tired of the strains writing puts on me, I can just film a video. And if I’m tired of writing and want to produce something more thoughtfully crafted, I go back to writing.
I’m sixteen years old and still attending school. When I’m 18, while most of my peers will not even know what they want to do with their lives, I will have collected entrepreneurial experience and built an immense practical knowledge base as well as skills in writing and videography, which translates into public speaking. I know the ins outs of online marketing and growth hacking already, and will grow that expertise over those two years. I can lead. I can produce. I have an insane drive (although that’s probably due to my age) as well as a strong work ethic and discipline. So I’m pretty damn excited to see where the hustle train leads me.
If you’ve enjoyed this, great. If you haven’t, great —either way, I’d be delighted to read your feedback on what you think about this piece.