I’m approaching 400 word vomits now, which is a nice milestone but it isn’t even half of everything that I’m going to have to write. And I realize that I have a bit of a problem. I anticipated that this problem would arise, and that I would have to deal with it, but it’s now becoming very real: the problem of how to make sense of all the stuff that I’ve written. It looks like I’m going to have to at least scan through everything, and realistically I’m probably going to have to read all of them again.
Why does this trouble or bother me? Why does it make me a little bit uncomfortable? I knew that I was looking forward to it, and I know that if I’m going to write my best work, I’m going to have to reference the best of my old stuff. Everything is in a bit of a mess and I ought to at least tidy it up into little piles. I suppose I’m not doing it because it seems like something that will be painful and unrewarding. And I’m hesitant to do it right now because it sounds like a massive project, and I don’t want to get embroiled in a massive project on a Sunday afternoon when I know I have work to do tomorrow, and I should spend at least some of my time preparing for work.
So I guess this is a project management problem. I have to quickly figure out how I’m going to navigate this problem, and then I have to get started and make little dents. I sort of tried getting started before, I have bits and pieces of it in my Workflowy– I’ve only really analyzed 1-50. And I’m wondering if that’s the wrong approach. The right approach might be to look for sequences and trains of thought. Argh, I don’t know for sure! I shouldn’t be thinking about this so much. I should maybe just start reading again and take notes again.
Well maybe not right now. Well– why not right now? LOL. I spent a bunch of time today doing not-very-much. I don’t feel bad about it, I feel like it’s me recharging. But at the same time I know that my feelings are not entirely reliable and are often wrong. So I need to be very careful– a lot more careful than I typically think I need to be.
(I am feeling a sense of boredom and mild annoyance as I write this. This is not what I want to be writing. I should be able to skip ahead to something else. What is it that I want to skip ahead to?)
Well… I have some time left for the day. I’d like to sleep and wake early. I’d to do some preparation for work, and I’d like to publish a word vomit so I would’ve kept the chain going. The idea of publishing a “dud” vomit always feels a bit frustrating, like I’m cheating somehow. But I need to realize that publishing duds as part of a consistent streak is way, way, WAY better than not publishing anything. Crap I can always filter out later on.
The problem is that when I’m so worried about not publishing crap that I don’t publish anything at all. It might FEEL like I’ve somehow avoided publishing crap, but as long as I’m not publishing anything, I’m not publishing anything. If I had been content and eager to publish crap and published a vomit a day since I started, I would almost be done with this project by now. There is no doubt in my mind that alongside the extra crap would be extra gems, and I would have already learned something from these gems by now, and these learnings would compound as I go along.
So my fear of publishing crap is ultimately damaging in a way that I do not perceive. This isn’t a new insight but it isn’t one that’s close to my heart, it isn’t something that I feel viscerally in my bones. I imagine it’s something like that thing I once read about pilots needing to rely on instruments rather than their feelings, because their feelings are wrong, and professional / high-functioning pilots develop the ability to transpose or rewire their intuitions to listen to be more attuned to the instruments than to their gut feeling. It’s a bit more complicated than that and I’m not doing it justice, but the point is… there are powerful truths that I know to be true intellectually, when I hear them and read them and think them I agree, “Yeah, that’s true,” but in day-to-day functioning I haven’t yet internalized them.
Part of internalizing them requires me to repeat these things over and over again, but that’s not the whole picture. It’s probably way less than half of the picture. I’m guessing the next fat chunk of the picture (intuitively I want to say “the other half of the picture”, but again, my intuition is probably broken and it might not be an even 50% half– it might be 80%, or it might be 20% with another mysterious 60% that I’m not aware of yet, such is the nature of constantly recalibrating expectations) will be implementing actions. Taking actions, doing things that are consistent with the truths that I believe to be true, that I say I believe to be true. A tiny part of that means publishing everyday, including publishing crap. And maybe I’ll publish a vomit or two after this, but clearly the next steps after that involves taking steps that I have said I want to take that I have not taken yet, for some reason or another.
I suppose there’s a lot I can learn from paying attention to how other people similar to me talk about these situations. I haven’t gotten around to reading my own stuff– again, why? Am I bored? Why do I think it’s boring? My own writing should be way more interesting to me than 99% of anything I can find– because it’s full of opportunities for me to better myself. I should think about that for a while.