Goal: publish 30 blog posts over 30 days.
Note, I said publish vs write. I already wrote a few posts. I started this post you’re reading now on July 4, 2016. This post is live October 1, 2016. So, it took me three months to begin this challenge.
To be honest, I planned to have dozens of masterpieces ready to schedule for the next 30 days. In fact, I have zero scheduled; only rough drafts. What am I doing? I’m a little nervous since I have a seven day retreat here, a three day retreat afterwards, and a circling weekend intensive at the end of this month. So, fifteen of my October days will be doing all-day training or traveling…pressure is on. But, I’ve been procrastinating, it’s time to take action.
Why do this?
I’ve wanted to become a better and prolific writer for ten years. I’ve always written a lot but never spent enough time on editing and polishing them for public consumption.
In the past year, I haven’t published any new posts here. Instead, I’ve been sharing more, raw posts on Facebook. Much of them were typed on my phone without forethought. Yet, those FB posts must have struck a chord because people continually tell me how much they appreciate them. Often times, it’s the first or second thing people tell me face to face. It’s given me confidence to resurrect this blog with more raw, honest thoughts of mine. I aim to stay committed to authenticity, vulnerability, and speaking from truth and connection.
So, this is post #1 then. Only 29 more to go.
For this post, I want to address why I want to become a better writer, what’s the point? At the monastery we have little free time so if I’m doing this then I’m not doing something else. So, in those moments of procrastination, what’s the motivation to write?
So, why do I want to write regularly for my blog anyway?
To me, this question can be broken into three pieces.
1. Why do I want to write in the first place?
2. Why do I want to write so regularly?
3. Why do I want to publish to the public?
1) Why do I want to write?
The most immediate cause is I’ve been inspired by the positive feedback regarding my Facebook posts. Also, in recent years, friends have asked that I share a record of my adventures whether it was RVing cross country or living in a monastic academy now. So, my experience and perspective are interesting enough for others to want to learn more about and from.
I also think I do my best form of communication in writing. I’m not the best public speaker nor am I creative in other arts. The only downside to writing for me is people overall don’t like reading as much and it’s difficult to convey passion and emotion through writing.
But I would like to become a better writer, a more clear writer and thereby also a more clear thinker so I can articulate my thoughts whether it’s the written form or other.
And in a way that’s inspiring a lot of my recent habits and actions, I just want to prove to myself that I can do it. Over the past 10 years, I’ve dabbed in so many activities but rarely ever committed and dedicated myself to anything apart from meditation, travel, and my old job. I want to commit to making writing a lifelong habit and something I become proficient, if not, master over a lifetime.
2) Why do I want to write so much on a consistent basis? (make writing into a habit).
Writing like most skills I think is an iterative process. You get better at it by doing it.
I want to write great pieces. But great pieces require producing a lot of trash. This is the principle of Equal Odds Rule. It comes from the scientific community that it’s impossible to predict what research will be great and which will be trash. So, 90% of my writing might be mediocre or plain bad. But the other 10% could be home runs and it’s impossible to know which those will be. In order to get those 10% though I need to produce that 90%. So, instead of trying to make a single masterpiece, I’ll make dozens of blog posts knowing some will be trash, most will be average, and a few will be great. And, over time, I’ll get faster and better at writing those good and great pieces of writing.
More details on Equal Odds Rule:
In 1977, a Harvard-trained psychologist named Keith Simonton, developed a theory that he called the Equal Odds Rule.
“The Equal Odds Rule says that the average publication of any particular scientist does not have any statistically different chance of having more of an impact than any other scientist’s average publication.”  In other words, any given scientist is equally likely to create a game-changing piece of work as they are to create something average that is quickly forgotten.
Translated to the world at-large: You can’t predict your own success. Scientists, artists, inventors, writers, entrepreneurs, and workers of all types are equally likely to produce a useless project as they are to produce an important one.
If you believe the Equal Odds Rule, then the natural conclusion is that you’re playing a numbers game. Because you can’t predict your success, the best strategy is to produce as much work as possible, which will provide more opportunities to hit the bullseye and create something meaningful.
Second, I want to build discipline beyond fleeting motivation and inspiration. I tend to only write when I want to do it. This is not a great way to go about life when it comes to training any of your skillls. A lot of writers talk about approaching writing like a blue collar job. No one does plumbing or laundry or truck driving when they “feel” like it. They do it when it’s time to do it. Now, you could argue that writing is a creative task that requires the right mood and conditions. And I would say that has truth, but it’s often just been an excuse for me to not do what I don’t feel like doing. And the same applies to a lot of other areas of life whether it’s cooking, exercise, meditation, writing copy, coding, dating, or whatever else. Doing it when I feel like it means it never happens. By writing a lot, I hope to break through that barrier of procrastination. This paragraph is too wordy…
Third, I’m also looking to discover/create the best ways and conditions for writing and creative work. Do I write best in a crowd or by myself? Listening to music or background buzz or silence? Early or late? With caffeine or not? I already know a few hacks (having a visual count-down timer & listening to Chopin), and I would like to learn more.
3) Why publish it online to a public blog?
Finally, why publish online here instead of just keeping it to myself?
I write best when I actually know it’s going to be seen by others. Even the fear that it’ll be seen by others. And by writing, I actually mean editing. I can write a lot of stream of consciousness drivel but I rarely edit my writing unless I know it’s published.
Second, I would like to build a community, an audience. I would love to connect with other smart, driven, and loving people out there (like you!). I want to foster my tribe to collaborate on projects and share ideas. It’s already happened for me on FB. People send me private messages wanting to connect and express appreciation because I’ve become that “authentic, vulnerable meditation guy that it’s probably safe to connect and confide to.” I wrote that jokingly but I love that it’s happening and want it more.
I have a lot of eclectic interests and passions that it’s hard to find others I really connect with. There’s really five or less people I have endless great conversations. I have a philosophical mind but also interested in pragmatic skills like marketing, sales, leadership. I like meditation but also appreciate physical health and exercise. I care about politics but not to the point of outrage or depression. I am very spiritual and into social justice and appreciate capitalism and wealth generation.
So, there it is. I want to become a better writer to think and express myself more clearly. I want to write great pieces that connect with the brilliant types of people I want to connect with. I want the accountability of public writing and learn the discipline to truly become a prolific, good writer.
Twenty-nine more to go. Thanks for riding this journey with me and would love to hear your feedback!