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: CXO of Atomic Form. 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.