Write where you are

January 3, 2022

A good friend of mine recently shared her resolutions for the new year. Heading the list was writing a sentence every day. Rain or shine, writers block or not. She's a writer by hobby but not profession, so often personal writing is thrown to the side in favor of work or other priorities. The goal was to form a habit - and the best way to habituate a new ritual is to power through even on days when you're not feeling it.

I've maintained a growing collection of notes on my laptop over the past few years. Book reviews are sprinkled alongside research themes, which sit next to thoughts and learnings on management. I rarely look back at these notes - and even rarer fully finish them. The meandering thoughts form more of a scratchpad for ideas. But some have the sketches of a full piece. They just never see the light of day.

Publishing has always been my bottleneck. During stints on Wordpress or Medium, I was overly focused on how articles looked that it often got in the way of what they said. That was just enough to prevent thoughts with less polish from getting to print. This year I want to change that trend. I want to force myself to finish more of these notes - and ship the ones when they come to a good enough stopping point. Always done, never finished.

They say with any habit there's a push and a pull: the inclination and the friction. The inclination is the lightbulb, the bright idea that keeps you up at night and shouts for expression on the page. The friction is the dimmer switch, the subtle presence of obstacles that allow you to readily excuse your inclination. To succeed in habits, you can either increase the inclination or decrease the friction.

For writing, you can't easily add motivation. But you can decrease the friction. You need to write where you are. Your platform should meet your workflow and add to it, not fit your writing into a preconfigured workflow. If you have full control over your process, you'll better optimize away excuses day by day. Coming out of it are the words that matter.

I'm now in a continuous pursuit of decreasing my friction. That brings us here, to a new home for my notes. It's gotten me excited to write again. It feels additive and frictionless. I'm looking forward to the new year.