Second set of things on my mind– thoughts while re-reading old word vomits. The first and most pressing thought is that I’ve already covered ‘pretty much everything’ that I thought I needed to write, at least for a first cut or a first run. I’ve been spending my time re-writing and re-creating things from scratch that I had already written before. It’s a strange feeling when I read something from a few months ago, or even a year ago, and find that it’s somehow more true or more appropriate about something than something I’ve just written. I wonder if that’s just a perspective thing. It’s probably a selection bias thing, like how the queue that you’re standing in is unlikely to be the fastest queue (and when it is, you don’t really notice it), so it always seems like you’re stuck in a slow queue or the slowest queue. Similarly, when looking back, I probably quickly gloss over the word vomits that weren’t that great, and linger on the ones that were good. Maybe. That’s a rational, reasonable-sounding explanation.
Still, I’d like to keep getting better at what I do. And a big part of that means I need to be systematic. I can’t keep reinventing the wheel, that’s taking too much time and is a frustrating process. I should incorporate the (good) old stuff into the new. I’m not doing that enough– or I’m relying entirely on memory, which isn’t working out so well when I have hundreds of different vomits to remember. I only remember maybe 10% of what’s actually useful, and forget 90%. We’re back to the idea of having to repeat things… I’ve DEFINITELY written a word vomit about that.
I suppose then we’re also reaching an interesting stage where I’ve almost definitely written about almost everything that I think I like to think about, or need to think about. Is there anything that I need to think about that I haven’t already written or thought about? Probably not. It’s all just actions that I need to take that I haven’t taken. I’m writing this at 12:52am when I was hoping to be asleep by 12. So that’s rather silly. But let me just steamroller through this one and get to bed.
So what does all this tell me about what I should do next? I’m still going to keep to my “publish at least one word vomit a day” system, because I know that publishing is therapeutic and a good habit to build. When I stop publishing, I start drying up in all sorts of ways. But beyond that, it’s actually really more important that I continue to summarize and re-read old vomits. I’m up to at least one summary (10 vomits at a time) a day now, and maybe I’ll try and get most of them done over the long weekend. That does some like a pursuit worth indulging in. The end result would be… I want to have a map of my recurring thoughts and ideas, and I want to see how many different ways I’ve approached things, and what sort of progress I’ve made. I’ve been putting it off partially because it’s tedious work, but more because I don’t know how good it’ll be. I’m imagining it’ll be messy and incomplete and imperfect. But those are necessary first steps towards achieving anything, so I need to shake off the subconscious BS idea that undone is better than badly/imperfectly done. Badly/imperfectly done is the first step towards a system of recurring improvement.
Beyond that, I think I’m pretty happy with how my vomit process is turning out. Publishing once a day is great. Keeping track of the publish days and keeping track of the total number published is great.
I was conscious in the shower earlier of how the word vomit project that I’ve committed to has put me in a position where I haven’t really been doing any social commentary or public facing writing. Initially, I swore off that kind of stuff because it felt like a distraction– and it most definitely was. What’s the point of being clear about public issues if I’m not clear about my own personal issues? But I do also think that I have a certain need for engagement with the outside world, otherwise I feel a little cloistered inside my own head and I go a little bit mad.
But I can’t exactly go back to writing things the way I used to. I’m not the same person anymore. I don’t care about the same things anymore. What would I be writing if I didn’t have a word vomit project to work on? I think I would be writing something like, “The Recreational Public Outrage Machine”. Suppose that is written. What would I write next? “What Adults Would Tell You About Adulthood (If They Weren’t So Goddamn Tired)” might be another. Suppose that’s done. What next? Coping With Everyday Bullshit. But I’m not qualified to write that yet, because I haven’t exactly figured that shit out myself. Suppose that’s written. What do I really want to write? Pursuing New Friendships In Adulthood (?). Not even sure if I’d really do that one. Suppose that’s done. “Stuff We Don’t Talk About (That I Kinda Wish We Did).” Done. “After A While People Aren’t That Interesting”. Not sure if I actually agree with that, but it would be interesting to write. “We’re All Connected, Okay Then What?” Next. “We Tolerate Really Low Standards For Some Reason”. That one might be a fun satire piece, Onion style. Actually there are probably a whole bunch of fun satire pieces to be written about marketing and startups. But is that really what I care about? Well, if I thought about it, it’s probably worth writing it and getting it out of the way (as part of a writing project, not necessarily as a top priority altogether.) The Game Of Priorities is something I might write about in my next vomit, because it’s something I’m actually concerned about right now and has direct implications for my own life.
Well, we’re done with this one. Goodnight.