Friday Links Issue 04

Here we go. I’m approaching 40 days. Posting every day is feeling more and more routine. I really look forward to writing every day now. There few days where I have to squeeze it in between the margins. With some focus on scheduling and tracking things, that kind of day is becoming a rarity.

I started a writing journal that I’ll post on Sunday. Some of the meta dispatches that I would include in previous Friday link post we’re getting pretty long so I made them even longer and moved them out to their own post.

How writing 1000 words a day changed my life — Srivinas Rao

I would wake up every morning and I would just put my fingers on the keyboard. Most of what I wrote was garbage. It mainly still is.

But when I powered through the garbage(sometimes the first 200 words), I ended up with gold. I figured if I was willing to produce enough garbage, I would come with just enough gold to meet all my deadlines and expectations.

I’ve been listening to The Unmistakeable Creative podcast lately, hosted by Srivinas Rao. He’s mentioned that he writes 1000 words every day, and this post explains what he’s learned through that routine.

Writing seems to be powering through garbage and then cleaning up the garbage. I’m not even at where I’m finding gold yet. I believe following the process will pay off. If I stop posting, then I probably have stopped believing that. But even forty days in, I’ve learned enough to know that something good is coming out of this.

In another post, Srivinas discusses the planning, organization, and tools for consistently writing 1000 words a day. He uses MacJournal for his distraction free writing tool. For the most part, I use Google Docs. Other times I’ll use iA Writer. I looked at some MacJournal screenshots and it seemed familiar. Turns out I own a license from a 2009 MacHeist. I’ll have to give it a go.

Timequake excerpt: Swoopers and Bashers — Kurt Vonnegut

Tellers of stories with ink on paper, not that they matter anymore, have been either swoopers or bashers. Swoopers write a story quickly, higgledy-piggledy, crinkum-crankum, any which way. Then they go over it again painstakingly, fixing everything that is just plain awful or doesn’t work. Bashers go one sentence at a time, getting it exactly right before they go on to the next one. When they’re done they’re done. I am a basher.

Now I’m forgetting where I heard this concept mentioned. I have a feeling it was a podcast. So much for my memory. I’m trying to be a swooper. But I do notice that I can fall into a basher mode. I’ll work on sentences too much. There’s something to just getting things down. I’ve found that setting a timer is really helping.

It reminds me of something that Addy Osmani says about Programming: first do it, then do it right, then do it better. That mirrors closely writing systems wehre the first draft should just get ideas on paper as fast as possible, the second draft should fix organization and mechanics, and third draft should be where things sound nice.

*Writing it Down *— Fred Wilson

Fred Wilson has posted every day since 2003.

As all of you know, I write every day. It is my discpline, my practice, my thing. It forces me to think, articulate, and question. And I get feedback from it. When I hit publish, I get a rush. Every time. Just like the first time. It is incredibly powerful.

I’d like for writing every day to be my thing also. I also don’t really have a system for feedback. Which is currently fine because I also don’t happen to have any readers. When I hit publish, I then go through 5 or 20 posts to make sure Jekyll compiled the site correctly. And that I didn’t mistakenly upload a draft with [insert good story here] notes to myself.

Also, the post I excerpted is one of the few where Fred mentions writing daily1. I admire his restraint in this. I would probably start my post in bold letters calling out the consistency and raw determination I have. Actually I can do it right here: “For my first post today because by the way I write every day…2

Argentina On Two Steaks A Day — Maciej Cegłowski

The classic beginner’s mistake in Argentina is to neglect the first steak of the day. You will be tempted to just peck at it or even skip it altogether, rationalizing that you need to save yourself for the much larger steak later that night. But this is a false economy, like refusing to drink water in the early parts of a marathon.

I love steak and this article made me want to visit Argentina almost strictly to try their beef out. But I’m linking to this mostly to point to all the things Maciej makes. He’s the sole developer of pinboard, which I collect links with all the time. I’ve enjoyed Maciej’s dry humor when responding to people on Hacker News. I learned that he has a pretty extensive blog where he writes mostly about food and travel and doesn’t write very much about programming at all.

I didn’t start this project thinking I would write about writing so much. Something I’ve really enjoyed is noticing all the people who write regularly who who don’t consider writing their first job.

I poked around the site more and was surprised to find out that Maciej is the person who put together a talk I had seen before: The Website Obesity Crisis (transcript with slides). He also speaks about more serious topics. (He threw a joke in at the very end and it absolutely killed me.)

  1. However, the posts where he discusses his routine are excellent.

  2. And now I’m realizing I actually do mention this in just about every post. Just gotta start bolding it.