I Write a Book Each Month, You Probably Do Too.
<tl;dr> My New Year’s resolution is to try and write a blog post, or something not entirely work-related every day for 30 days.
Some simple, and slightly questionable maths1, leads me to the conclusion that all those emails, documents, reports, proposals, instant messages, Facebook updates – it’s work, honestly – means I’m cranking out the equivalent of one book each month.
Not a good one, perhaps, but a book nonetheless, perhaps the work equivalent of 50 Shades, although the majority of the content is probably safe for work.
All this content, all the writing, but the majority of it is, as written for work. I don’t get much time to think about what I’m writing, usually because there’s a looming deadline or a client needs something yesterday.
I’d like to write more for me, committing some thoughts to words, not just work words and since it’s that time of year for New Year’s resolutions, why not?
Well, usually, because, collectively we make a grand gesture, then fail miserably to get beyond the first week in January. So, let’s try something in small chunks.
There’s a tonne of articles that agree, look this one has a picture of people doing yoga on a beach, this guy is from Life on Fire, even the Newcastle Building Society agrees. It must be true, right?
Just 30 days
This great TED talk – 6.8m views and counting – from Matt Cutts, Google’s chief fighter of search engine spam got me thinking, I should try and write a post, something, anything every working day for 30 days. A lot can happen if you try it consistently for a short time.
Morgan Spurlock of Supersize Me fame even created a reality TV series, 30 Days, based on the idea (caveat: haven’t seen any of them, just discovered it now). I’m sure this is going to work. Until the reality of life, work, children, transport, etc get in the way!
Say what you think
Hopefully by the end of this, a flashing cursor on a blank screen won’t be quite as terrifying and the jumble of thoughts that tumbles out of my head will magically make some sense.
[Blogging] is about developing our awareness, our communication skills, and our collective intelligence. It is about thinking harder and writing better. Blogging is a means by which to rediscover your voice, to learn to share your thoughts with others, and by doing so to help us all get smarter faster.
I’ll swap writing for blogging, purely to reflect the times, I’m not sure posting on Medium, Linkedin or Facebook counts as blogging these days, but his point stands.
Read better, write better
To write better, you also need to read good – and if that sentence proves anything, I need to read a lot! Starting with…
- Euan Semple – this idea is in part, his fault, thanks Euan
- Robert Scoble – prolific, tech/geek reportage
- Martin Belam – clever data, football, music & nerdery, also Friday Reading
- Anything in The Atlantic, Salon or Wired – just ‘cos
- Cate in the Kitchen – sharp, witty, foodie stuff
- Jim Sterne’s Devil’s Data Dictionary – make very techie stuff funny
- Paul Carr – smart, biting, often harsh, sometimes read through fingers on face
- Bobbie Johnson – great since The Guardian, Ghost Boat is the written Serial
- Benjamin Ellis – psychology, tech, guitars, smart fella
Without rules there’d be anarchy and New Year’s Resolutions are no exception. OK, thats bollocks, but in an effort to try and keep this sensible, some guidelines:
- Have opinions – not onions, thanks autocorrect – but this isn’t so much about this work, or this work or this work, it’s about thinking in words.
- Short or long, doesn’t matter, but have to publish something every working day – although it’s OK to schedule, y’know there’s work’n’stuff to worry about here
- Setting a time limit, I don’t have 10,000 hours, so an hour per post is the absolute maximum. I’m letting myself off for this one, it’s the first one, it’s the
4 Jan,5 Jan.
- Sharing on social media, but it’s not about the likes, the shares or the views, although my ego will happily take all that good stuff.
Well, that was a surprisingly painful start. Day #1 done, it gets easier, right?
1 According to Gmail my sent items came to 3,598 emails last year, given I’m trying to be swift in replies, allow 100 words/email, that’s a snifter under 30,000 words/month. Double that for other docs and writing and voilà, that’s roughly a book. Gmail Meter provides better email analytics, but takes a little while to churn the data.
Pic (cc) Books by Glenn Noble on Unsplash.