Peeling Back The Curtain
Since I’m 10 weeks into my challenge of publishing weekly, I figured I’d reflect on my progress.
My goal with the challenge was to become a more effective writer. Specifically, to improve my quality to effort ratio. I hypothesized that publishing frequently would accelerate my growth through tight feedback loops. It could also help overcome the perfectionitis that plagued me. This was my state of mind then:
I’m proud of my work, but my pace is abysmal. I’ve only written 6 essays in 15 months. I am (was?) too scared to release something imperfect.
I’ve made some progress. By sticking to a weekly schedule, I became more efficient and more confident in releasing my work. However, my quality to effort ratio is still too low. The posts take too long for what they are. The juice is not worth the squeeze and my lingering perfectionism is to blame. Past a certain point, incremental effort only leads to marginal gains. Yet when I’m faced with the choice between publishing prematurely or spending more effort on a post, I opt for the latter. Not only does this hold me back from releasing more often, but it also eats into my other priorities.
To course correct, I will be publicly sharing how long each post takes to write. To understand why, let’s break it down into two parts: measuring the effort and sharing it publicly.
First, measuring the effort helps me evaluate my own efficiency. You can’t fix what you don’t know. I can compare the quality of a post to the quantitative effort and track my progress over time. After all, what gets measured gets improved.
As an added bonus, this will form my keystone habit of time management. In my Year 1 reflection, my goal was to experiment with the Pomodoro technique. Since I’ll be using Pomodoro sessions to timeblock my writing, I hope to extend it to other tasks as well.
Second, sharing it publicly creates additional downward pressure on effort. It compels me to get the bang for my buck. I’ll have to justify every incremental hour of effort so I can avoid the embarassment of a reader thinking this to themselves: “such a trivial post took him X hours?!”. As I mentioned before, external accountability is a big motivator for me. (So much that I staked my entire business on it.)
In doing this, I want to peel back the curtain of creation. Anyone who creates deals with the same questions of self-doubt. Am I an imposter? What will my friends think of this? Is this worth my readers’ time? I hope that by being vulnerable and putting myself out there, you will see that it’s hard for everyone.
I already know that I’ll be embarassed about the time I spent writing this, but the truth is what it is. I can’t change it. Hiding behind a problem doesn’t help anyone. You have to face it head-on. Only when you accept it can you begin to solve it.
So here’s my problem: this post took me 380 minutes :/.
P.S: You can find more of my thoughts on Twitter @_suketk.
Update: As of Nov 2022, only email subscribers will have access to writing times.