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On Writing & Inspiration

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There are a lot of projects (and hassles) that compete for my time, and I often end up having to settle for done rather than perfect. And those times that I don’t even get to settle, I end up with an unfinished project (e.g. a startup idea or an essay) that I’m eventually forced to triage and eliminate from my to-do list.

As this site is a low priority for me, it’s fairly typical that posts for this site get culled from my GTD system. I have a number of un-published posts sitting in my blog’s git repository, dying a slow death. I’m today reminded of a paragraph that has stuck with me from a blog post by Trent Polack:

I’m sort of an impulsive creative. When I have random inspiration for something, I like to sit down and work on it (whatever it is) until it’s done or in a state where I feel okay leaving it for another day. That’s how I write almost every single entry to this site; very few of these entries takes me more than three or four hours of effort. That’s not because I devalue the content I put into these entries by any means. When inspiration strikes me to write something, I want to take that intensity and attachment to a given subject and expand on it as much as possible while the idea is still fresh in my mind. It’s not an ideal system, but it works for me. It was the same way when I was writing short (or not) stories. First pass was done in as few sittings as possible (often one long one) and it was cleaned up from there.

I’m learning that it’s not enough for me to find and schedule a block of time to write when I’m struck with random inspiration. Because when the scheduled time rolls around, I’m no longer motivated to express the idea. Recognizing this mistake, I’m going to try and write up posts and project ideas more immediately. And complete drafts, too – albeit shorter efforts when time is scarce – since I’m sick of looking at un-finished pieces on my desk or in my git.

And so, without further ado, I plow on to write my next post: A Year of Development.