10 Blogs in 10 Days in 30 Minute Bursts
Newsletter subscribers have probably noticed that I'm a bit more active on my blog these days. In fact, I published more new content in the last 10 days than I did in the previous 6 months. The feedback has been fantastic, which I take as an indication that I'm striking a chord with the hearts and minds of people like you. Honestly, it's an honor that you give me permission to reach out to you. I hope I can continue to keep your interest as you invest your time with me.
This burst of activity has had a profound effect on me. For years, I have bitched and moaned how I love to write and want to be a writer, but it was always one of those things that I would get to "someday". Of course, without making the time and space, the right moment never came. And then there is perfectionism. This was even worse because unless I had hours and hours to make something perfect, I had no motivation to get started. Alas, writing for me became was a difficult and sporadic event rather than a routine that I experienced in a flow state.
Two things changed in the past week that I credit.
The first is my wife, Emily. I know that work already takes up a significant part of the day and that cuts into the amount of time we can spend together as a family. Still, she knows that I love to work hard and accomplish things, which ultimately makes me feel successful and fulfilled. She's changed around her morning routine so I can make the space to have 30 uninterrupted minutes every morning. Now I have no excuses. Once my ass hit the chair, it was game on.
The second thing is the advice I received from my mentor. He reminded me that time we will always want things to be better. This is where perfectionism will kill you with multiple iterations and over planning. A way to get around this is to create an artificial time box or deadline, so you have no option but to ship. It's like taking a test in school. Once the time up, you turn in your test regardless of if it's finished or not. I love this and matched the exercise to the 30-minute time slot I just created.
With these two ingredients, I've been off to the races. Instead of feeling stressed while writing, it's been a relief. It's almost like the permission I get when practicing improv. And knowing there is a finish line keeps me from writing my typical 2,000 to 3,000-word articles. Instead, I'm typically hitting 500 words a day. Given that a 100-page book is about 30,000 words, I could get another first draft together in about 2 months. That's exciting! So much so that I actually have an outline for a new book. I plan on starting after I'm back from vacation. To that end, my blog will be going mostly silent again while I start chipping away at this first draft in 30-minute, 500-word chunks. If something good comes out of it, I'll share the results of the experience on the blog. And if not, I'm sure it will be great practice as I continue to hone my writing skills and voice.
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About Rick Manelius
Quick Stats: CTO of Contact Mapping. Author of Winning the Lottery Within. Graduated from MIT in '03 (BS) and '09 (PhD). Life hacker and peak performance enthusiast. This blog is my experiment in creative writing, self-expression, and sharing what I've learned along my journey. For more information, read my full bio here or contact me.