Write Less More

A few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to write here more often, but I found it extremely difficult to come up with anything to write about. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say or share, but that none of it seemed worth saying or worth sharing.

After thinking about it for a while I realized that most of the writing I’ve done over the last few years has been focused on marketing the products I was working on. When I wrote something it was with the goal of making it to the front page of a site like HackerNews. The title had to be optimized for maximum SEO impact, the content had to have charts and numbers and insights that people would find valuable and worth sharing. As a result of this must-make-it-to-the-front-page mentality, the bar for what should be a blog post became set very high. If it wasn’t likely to get several thousand new visitors, it just wasn’t worth writing.

I’m going to try something new. Instead of a few big posts here and there I’m going to try to write shorter posts more frequently. At least in the beginning, nothing should take more than 15 or 20 minutes max to write. One word titles are fine, quotes are fine, pictures are fine. Anything goes. By writing more often I hope to become a better writer, share a bit of what I’m learning, connect with new and old friends, and perhaps benefit from some of your perspectives on whatever I’m writing about.

I’ll finish up by quoting a short story that I first saw in a post on Derek Sivers’s blog called Does quantity + learning = quality? which neatly summarizes why I think shorter posts more frequently is a good approach:

The ceramics teacher announced he was dividing his class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right graded solely on its quality.

His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would weigh the work of the “quantity” group: 50 pounds of pots rated an A, 40 pounds a B, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot – albeit a perfect one – to get an A.

Well, come grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity!

It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.

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