aqua-ified thoughts

never developed nor fully solidified

Documenting myself

Saturday, May 4, 2024, 02:30 AM

There are lots of things I have been wanting to write about.

  • Projects I want to do.
  • Projects I have done.
  • Things I want to learn.
  • Things I have learned.
  • Hunches and opinions I have had.

But I don’t write about them, at least not as a spammed rant in someone’s chat box.

The reason is ultimately perfectionism. I feel I need to be “articulate.” I need to spend time polishing the thing I want to write about. I have to not look stupid or naive, and I don’t have time or energy to devote to achieving that.

Telling myself “ok now go write, let’s just not be perfectionistic” is not useful. A lot of these concerns are valid, at least partially:

  • Writing does indeed take a lot of time, even if I don’t care about quality. The quantity of things in my head is too large.
    • That time could be spent doing something else that’s not centered on me and my oh-so-rich internal world.
  • Some topics are of higher stakes than others and deserve care, like controversial takes.

These are the questions to ask if I want to craft a plan that has any chance of success.

  • Is there a sustainable way for me to build the writing habit?
    • It isn’t sustainable if it doesn’t take a bounded amount of time. My brain simply wouldn’t let me start.
    • It should not be coupled to “other things”–like researching or studying a topic, or doing a project, or heck, thinking about how to make my writings reach people the way I intended. I know those “other things” are the real goal here, but focusing on them now is probably too large of a leap from where I am.
  • Is there a mindset I could start to cultivate?
    • What can I write down that I myself can re-read and re-internalize later down the line? What can I write down that I will trust?

At this point, I don’t have specific answers, but I have some hunches I believe are true:

  • I indeed need to focus on the habit-building aspect of this, not any other performance metrics.
  • The habit has to incorporate some kind of time constraints. I need to be willing to write “incomplete” posts—posts that are just partial thoughts or list of questions.
  • It (the habit) has to be evaluated, systematically.
  • It can start now.

So here’s a tentative answer: Each day, I will journal whatever thoughts I think are notable enough to mention in a readable, linear format. If I deem them notable enough, I could put them on my blog, but that is not a requirement. Time bound is 30 minutes. I am required to leave out some stuff if I have too much going on in my mind. (I shouldn’t worry about that because if I write every day, chances are I’ll get to these things anyway. If these things change and become irrelevant to write about, that’s fine too.)

Just for my own sake, I’ll also attach a list of topics that I consciously decided not to write about for the sake of meeting the time limit, so my brain stops screaming at me for potentially “forgetting” them. (Also, they have to be topics. Not blurbs. Not summaries.) Today’s topics were:

  • Plans for curbing my caffeine addiction and improving sleep quality
  • List of writing projects
  • List of things I’m focused on now
  • Self control
  • The concept of congruence in psychotherapy Et cetera.

I’m starting to read this book. It seems helpful for the kind of concerns I have been having.

One key takeaway (at least in the beginning) is that writing is a particularly effective way of generating “self-evidence.” It is necessary at this stage where I can’t quite decide on what the “right” thing to be working on (or writing about) is. Also, it helps me become more articulate.

This post is an example of such evidence.