0508 – writing publicly again

I published my last word vomit on Nov 21, and it was something a little different– dialogue practice. I haven’t published a vomit since then but I feel pretty good because I’ve been writing for myself, in different ways. I realize that if I want to write fiction, I’m going to have to start by writing the building blocks of fiction. I’m going to have to start describing people, describing scenes, describing events. And so the trick to doing that well will be to start by sketching each of those things individually. To describe 1,000 people, 1,000 scenes, 1,000 events. I’m not sure if I’m going to be publishing those things as word vomits. I’m doing them in the privacy of my Evernote, and so far I feel pretty good about it.

Beyond that, I also want to expand on my public-facing writing. I was getting tired of all this endless introspective navel-gazing going on over here. I’ve been feeling that it’s time to return “to the public eye”. I already almost-always maintain some sort of contact– through reddit comments, hacker news comments and so on, and I use those things to practice my writing skills. But that’s not quite what I want. I know that I don’t want to spend my time responding to people unless I’m confident that it’s worth my time. I think it’s worth my time practicing my fiction skills, I think it’s worth my time doing some psychoanalysis to continue to work on my personal issues and resolve them. Beyond that, I also want to do some public-facing writing.

The first thing I’m doing that comes quite naturally is– I’m going to publish one Facebook status update a day, where I just write about something that I find interesting. It’s shorter than a word vomit– the one I just posted was 400 words. But it’s more challenging, because I’m forced to edit, to make it succinct, to make it punchy, to make sure it works and that it communicates effectively. With these vomits, I have the luxury of reading them months and years later and choosing to extract out whatever value I see fit. With FB statuses, they’re representations of who I am to the people I care about (I deleted everybody off Facebook a few months ago and have been slowly, occasionally adding people that I think are worth my time), and if I want to make progress on the social front (having more quality relationships with higher quality people), then I’m going to have to make sure that my writings are of a certain standard. And that standard is always going to be rising. I like the restriction of only doing 1 a day– I used to be on Facebook all day every day, posting constantly. I think people appreciate it more if you post just one or two good things a day, tops.

Beyond that, I want to restart visakanv.com/marketing/. (Have I mentioned this recently? Maybe a while ago.) I’ve had a couple of recent events that have convinced me that I have the “right” to write about marketing. It looks silly to see that on the page. Specifically– I wrote a post on a subreddit that was stickied by the mods as an exemplary post (when in reality I don’t actually agree with everything about the community… so that was really interesting to experience), and I went to a marketing event organized by a famous/popular company and witnessed for myself first hand the “state of affairs” of sorts. And both of those things made me feel (not just intellectualize) that I’m truly capable of making valid contributions to the broader community.

It’s interesting. It feels like I’ve sort of come full circle. When I started out, I felt like I was preaching to the masses from my personal pulpit. I was maybe at the 45 or 50% watermark, preaching down at the unwashed masses beneath me instead of focusing on trying to climb and rise above my station. [1] Now I feel like I’ve risen a little– I don’t want to try to make an estimate (I like how Tobi from Shopify said ‘I hope I’m always at the first 5% of my journey’ or something like that). Rather, I’d like to frame it as this– I’ve spent 500,000 words thinking and talking to myself, going over my own perspectives and ideas, reflecting, blah blah blah. I’ve also spent 3 years as a marketer, writing hundreds of blogposts and interacting with thousands of people.

Eh, I’m getting a little sloppy. The point is! I feel like I’m ready to revisit my initial plans that were valid but premature. I want to start writing “for the public” again, or “in public”, and collect new feedback on what my public-facing writing is like, can be like. I’m quite excited about this. I’m going to pace myself by writing one status a day, and publish 1 medium post + 1 /marketing/ post per week at least. That’s the plan. It doesn’t need to be perfect but let’s just see how it goes, and reflect on it regularly.

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[1] I realize as I write this that I’m being a little too harsh on my younger self there. I was quite preachy, yes, but I think I was also quite commit to improving and getting better. I just didn’t know precisely what betterment was going to look like, or how I was going to do it. But I believed that I was in some sense just as capable as people who were more successful than me, and I wanted to try to be at least as successful, on my own terms. I was wrong about a bunch of things, but it’s not like I was COMPLETELY blindsided by those things. And the more time passes, the more I revise and internalize the initial failings as necessary, good, inevitable. After all, how can you make progress if you’re not making mistakes? And if you’re going to progress without mistakes, why haven’t you done it already?

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