How we spend our days

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” –Annie Dillard

A few years ago I committed to posting something on my blog every day for an indefinite time period to see if I could keep it up. And I did, for a long time. Many days I would get to the evening with no ideas for a post and simply find a quote to share with a brief comment, just to keep my commitment to posting something, anything, to keep from breaking the string.

Other days I would latch onto an idea early on, and it would suffuse my whole day, giving me something delightful to puzzle on and sparking connections and possibilities I hadn’t imagined when the idea first appeared.

The challenge to write and publish every day wasn’t as much of a burden as I had imagined. Knowing that I was committed to sharing something daily kept my antennae up in a way that made those days more engaging, more filled with wonder and possibility. I woke up each morning knowing I had a quest before me, and I seemed to move through those days with a greater sense of awareness and curiosity. And fun. Being intentional about searching and then sharing gave those days more juice.

I was writing less for some unseen audience out there than I was for my own benefit. I’ve found that actively trying to express myself helps me to see and understand in ways I don’t when I’m in my default passive mode. What’s the line—“How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” And “the best way to understand something is to try to express it.”

But knowing that someone else out there might read what I write adds a bit of oomph to my efforts. As an author explained, it’s the difference between cleaning your house just because you need to versus cleaning your house when you know guests are coming to visit. Writing in public pushes me towards clarity and purposefulness in ways that merely writing for myself privately in a diary never will.

I’ve not only not been posting daily recently, I’ve just let this blog lie fallow for most of the past couple of years. Occasionally a friend will ask when I’m going to get back to it, and I’m always caught off guard that anyone actually had been reading it.

But at the heart of my drift is, I think, the general melancholy of the times. “What do I know?”, I say to myself. What can I write that would add any real value in a world that seems especially off kilter at the moment?

Well, when the world seems particularly unexplainable or even hopeless, that should be motivation to act—to write or organize movements or volunteer or make something lovely. Do something that might bring a little clarity or kindness or joy in order to stymie, even if momentarily, the relentless pull of entropy, the invincible law of physics that ultimately all things fall apart. But striving against that pull of chaos is our calling. It’s how we got here and survived to this point.

So, I’m back at it, writing here regularly for my own benefit, and possibly for yours.

Not every day will be marked by brilliant prose or moving poetry. Most posts will be forgettable. Some cringeworthy. I’ll be lucky to have even ten percent of my posts turn out to be something I’m proud of. But I’ll be proud just to put my fingers to the keys regularly again.

Making creative expression a daily expectation and a daily habit will mark my days with curiosity and wonder and probably some frustration and disappointment. A fair trade.

I want to spend more of my days than not in the intentional pursuit of truth and beauty. This little corner of the internet is my stake in the ground for that and a daily exercise in attempting to live a more excellent life.

Be wholly alive

Author William Saroyan’s advice to writers (which is good advice for non-writers, too):

“Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

But, there’s a lot of “try” in there. Yoda would counter: “Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.”

Wake up. Uncork the life force within. Be wholly alive as often as you can.

The happy discoverer

“When I begin a poem I don’t know—I don’t want a poem that I can tell was written toward a good ending… You’ve got to be the happy discoverer of your ends.” –Robert Frost

Just get going without concern for the precision of your ending point.

It’s in the going and the doing that you are likely to make your best art and discover your true self.

Don’t overthink it. Don’t expect to have the answers before beginning.

Be open to detours and delays and scenic overlooks.

And be open to surprise.

Just get going.

Writing that moves: Posnanski makes like Maddux

My morning in this lovely AirBnB cottage near Venice Beach has been made reading a couple of Joe Posnanski’s pieces. (This west coast time zone had me up early, watching my kids sleep as we continue on our California vacation.)

Posnanski is a sportswriter, but it’s his stuff about fatherhood and family that gets to me. 

He wrote most recently about taking his teenage daughter to see the musical Hamilton. (Go read that piece now. It’s so, so good.)

I’ve never been a big fan of Broadway musicals. I had been underwhelmed years ago by Cats (hated it) and Phantom (meh). But we took our young daughters to see Wicked earlier this year, and I was wowed and truly moved. 

Then I heard some early hoopla about Hamilton and was intrigued enough to listen to the soundtrack. I’ve since listened to that soundtrack repeatedly and can quote key lyrics. And I’ve begun reading the Ron Chernow biography that inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda to create a hip-hop infused stage production telling the story of an under appreciated founding father. And I know who Lin-Manuel Miranda is and have watched YouTubes of his commencement speeches and his beatboxing with Emma Watson. And I know I will regret not having seen the original cast perform Hamilton live. 

And Posnanski’s endearing story of taking his daughter to see this show resonated with me as an admirer of all things Hamilton right now and as a dad of daughters. I got all the feels and could imagine sitting in that theater with my older daughter and making a memory that endures.

I then read an older piece of his about taking his daughter to Harry Potter world in Florida. Also a delight and evocative of my experiences with my daughters. 

Posnanski’s writing sneaks up on the reader. He’s just casually unspooling the threads of a story. It’s conversational and earnest. And then—Pow!—without warning you feel something. You’re moved. It’s clear he’s been moved, and he takes you with him. 

The great Braves pitcher, Greg Maddux, my favorite baseball player, pitched kind of like that. He didn’t have jaw-dropping stuff. His fastball was average. He wasn’t imposing. But he was an artist on the mound. He was subtle and cerebral and his pitches moved in surprising, yet strategic ways. It wasn’t power or speed, it was movement and careful, precise placement that was thought through before the batter ever approached the plate. The pitch counts and the innings would unspool innocuously with lots of balls in play and runners scattered here and there. And then, all of a sudden, you had a complete-game shutout. 

Maddux was more of a craftsman than an artist. But the parallel to mastery of a hard skill seems apt to me. 

Movement. Artful placement. Beautiful stuff.  

The key in writing, I think, is to feel something that truly moves you and find a way to express it in such a way that your reader feels that same thing. 

Seems simple, but so few pull it off well. 

My next computer: iPad Pro

ipad-pro

I’ve been an iPad guy since the first version was announced in 2010. I loved it immediately and used it mostly for reading, but also for writing.

It was just supplemental, though, to my iPhone and the two iMacs I had—one at the office and the other at home.

The home iMac is old now and sits unused. I use my iPad mini for most of my computer tasks away from the office. It’s a great device for reading, and it’s so good as my presentation device. I use the iOS Keynote app and a VGA adapter to connect the iPad to a projector, and I use my iPhone as the remote. It’s a lightweight, minimal, and rock solid presentation setup.

The iPad mini is also the device that I do a lot of writing on. But that’s where the mini falls short for me. The screen is just too small. I pair the iPad with an external Bluetooth keyboard, but the canvas I’m writing on seems too constricting. The screen is too small for me to write comfortably. Inserting a cursor in the right location and highlighting text can be frustrating. I find myself writing less away from my office iMac just because it’s not as enjoyable to write on the tiny iPad mini screen.

I was intrigued when Apple introduced the new, very lightweight Macbook last year. The form factor is gorgeous. The screen looks impressive, and I was eager to try the new keyboard design. But the computer seemed a bit underpowered. However, I imagined its second iteration might be my dream writing machine.

When Apple introduced the 12.9 inch iPad Pro last fall, it seemed almost comically large to me. “Who is going to want that?” I wondered.

Now, I want that.

I keep hearing about people who have replaced their laptop (or even their desktop) with this new iPad. Federico Vittici, Jason Snell, CGP Grey and Myke Hurley, Serenity Caldwell… All are iPad-Pro-as-laptop-replacement evangelists. 

And now, even Steven Sinofsky, Microsoft’s former head of its Windows division, has written that the iPad Pro has become his primary computer.

I appreciate the simple elegance of iOS versus OS X. There’s less to fiddle and fuss with. There’s less distraction and a more focused environment. It’s a truly modern and mature operating system. 

And now, with the most powerful computing power ever in an iOS device and a screen bigger than the entry level Mac laptops, the iPad Pro may be my ultimate computing device so far. It’s at the top of my wish list. 

 

Billy Collins on finding your voice

The poet Billy Collins was speaking at a White House poetry student workshop and was asked about “finding your voice”. Here’s a portion of his response as shared by Austin Kleon:

Your voice has an external source. It is not lying within you. It is lying in other people’s poetry. It is lying on the shelves of the library. To find your voice, you need to read deeply. You need to look inside yourself, of course, for material, because poetry is something that honors subjectivity. It honors your interiority. It honors what’s inside. But to find a way to express that, you have to look outside yourself.

Read widely, read all the poetry you can get your hands on. And in your reading, you’re searching for something. Not so much your voice. You’re searching for poets that make you jealous. Professors of writing call this “literary influence.” It’s jealousy. And it’s with every art, whether you play the saxophone, or do charcoal drawings. You’re looking to get influenced by people who make you furiously jealous.

Read widely. Find poets that make you envious. And then copy them. Try to get like them.

This is so good and rings true for me, not just for poetry but for any creative endeavor.

Consume everything you can about what grabs you. Be voracious. Read and explore and scour every curiosity.

Find the very best people in the field you want to be in and soak up their insight and their style. Follow them on Twitter. Read what influenced them. Act as if you were a peer of your creative heroes.

And don’t wait to get busy making your own stuff, even if at first it seems like a derivative copy of those you’re aspiring to emulate.

Your voice will come only from using it.

Flipping your mindset

I took a seminar style freshman English course in college. There were just twelve students, and we sat around a conference table with Professor Patterson, a distinguished teacher who was in his final year before retirement. 

We had an eight page paper due every week. I don’t think I had a paper that long due over any single semester in high school. 

The first assignment was to analyze a sonnet. Sonnets are fourteen line poems. How was I going to write eight pages about about such a short poem?

Dr. Patterson noticed the collective chagrin and low level panic around the table as he explained the assignment. 

I remember his advice well, almost 33 years later. He smiled and encouraged us to make this a pleasant experience. He suggested that as we tackled this project over the weekend we should find a comfortable chair and a tasty beverage and savor the work. 

Somehow, his unexpected suggestion encouraged me and dulled the dread. I ended up doing just fine on that paper and throughout that class. 

A comfortable chair and a tasty beverage. That image arises regularly when I’m confronted by an overwhelming or seemingly dreary task. 

It’s a matter of mindset. Instead of resisting and dreading, I was able to see the work as an experience to be enjoyed. 

It’s worth giving this a try when you face something difficult or unappealingly tedious. Find a way to flip your mindset and make it a pleasure. 

Go to a happy place. Listen to lovely music. Find a comfortable chair and a tasty beverage. Act as if the unwanted task is something you chose and eagerly anticipate, and then delight in completing it. 

Paul Graham’s writing advice

Paul Graham has simple advice on improving your writing: write like you talk.

If you simply manage to write in spoken language, you’ll be ahead of 95% of writers. And it’s so easy to do: just don’t let a sentence through unless it’s the way you’d say it to a friend.

Don’t overthink it or use words you don’t normally use in conversation. Keep it simple. Be direct. Write like you talk.

The bonus of making art for intrinsic rewards

I’ve taken a little break from writing over a long weekend of family fun and travel. 

In general I’ve been more inconsistent with posting here recently. I’ve fallen off the daily pace I had set for myself. 

I write regularly more for my own benefit than for others. It’s a challenging discipline that helps me think more clearly and know myself better. 

But writing in public sharpens my thinking more than if I was just journaling in private. It’s a bonus if someone else finds some value in anything I share. 

In the last couple of days I’ve randomly gotten some feedback on Twitter expressing appreciation for some of my writing. Both were for different posts from last year. 

It’s nice to know that at least occasionally my words aren’t just fading into the ether. 

Speaking to an audience, imagined or not, helps focus and sharpen your art. But don’t get sidetracked or manipulated by an attachment to how others receive what you have to offer.

Excellent art comes from a place within you that’s unburdened by the potential approval or disapproval from any audience. 

That intrinsic focus, though, will be more likely to produce something that does resonate with others and yield some extrinsic rewards, too. 

Saturday morning links

Here are some articles I found online this week that are worth reading:

And don’t miss the beautiful video he created: We Call This Home – 3 Years Around the World Travel.

  • The Confession of Arian Foster – This ESPN The Magazine feature tells the story of NFL star running back Arian Foster and his openness about not believing in any supernatural power. It seems odd that this is a story, but he is considered the first American professional athlete, at least the first high profile one, who is openly skeptical about religion. Foster comes across as remarkably thoughtful, as one who is truly discontent with the unexamined life.

See also this excellent post by Foster from two years ago: 6 Things I’ll Try to Teach My Daughter.

  • Inviting Mara to Tea – Psychologist and meditation teacher Tara Brach was featured on Tim Ferriss’s podcast recently. This post by Brach tells the story of how the Buddha welcomed and made peace with heartache and worry. Accept what comes with gentleness. Resistance is futile. 
  • And this TED Talk about Google’s self-driving car project is remarkable: How a Driverless Car Sees the Road. (via @FarnamStreet) Twenty-five years from now driving your own car may be the exception, and you might need special permission to do it, kind of like a hunting license or a gun permit.

Daily express

I just returned from a quick beach getaway with my wife’s family.

I took a few days off from posting on this site while I was gone, and I came home to an email from a friend wondering if everything was okay. He was used to me posting something daily. How nice that he was concerned when I went missing from the internet for a few days.

I do try to find something to share here every day, and I had a nice streak going before this recent break. 

Some days I post just a quote or a link to something I’ve found online or a book I’m reading. Occasionally it will be something more substantial.

But I’ve discovered that this daily discipline adds some juice to my days. I wake up knowing I need to find something worthwhile to share. And my antennae are up. I’m on the search for interesting. I learn things I otherwise wouldn’t because I’m actively seeking something new to share.

I’m sure photographers actually see things most of us don’t because they’re in the business of finding and creating things worth seeing.

It’s a double pleasure if something I share is meaningful to someone else, because my initial audience is just me. If no one reads what I write, at least I have benefitted from the experience of trying to find something worthwhile and understand it well enough to communicate it. 

Making a regular habit of expressing yourself, in whatever medium works for you, will have you seeing and feeling and finding in ways you never would otherwise.

“The best way to understand something is to try to express it.” –Brenda Ueland

The encouragement of noticers

My friend Alex was a student on my staff a couple of years ago when he came to me and asked why I, at that time, posted on this site so infrequently.

I was surprised he was aware I even had this blog, much less that he cared how often I wrote. But he challenged me to write more often. He liked reading my stuff.

That conversation sparked a much more consistent writing habit for me. It’s one thing to share your writing publicly. It’s so simple now to publish and post and share on the internet. It’s another thing altogether to write with the expectation that someone actually will read it and care.

Before that conversation with Alex I had been writing without much awareness of an audience. There is great value in writing to better understand what you think, without regard to any audience. But writing with readers in mind will sharpen your thinking and your prose.

I said this last year (which was paraphrased from something I had read online somewhere):

Kind of like how you clean your house so much better when you’re expecting company, writing something with the awareness that others might read it will lead to clearer thinking and better work.

Today happens to be Alex’s birthday. We had lunch together today, and he reminded me again that he’s continuing to read my stuff. And I was reminded how potent an encouraging challenge from a friend can be.

And I’m also reminded that I need to be a more diligent noticer of the art and craft and kindness of others. I need to be like Alex more often (and Tim and Trey and Angie and Emily and other friends who regularly notice my work) and challenge those whose work I admire to offer their best.

Make art, people. Express yourselves. Do your part to make sense of it all and to enjoy the ride we’re all taking together.

On Writing Well, on living well

The author William Zinsser died recently, and his obituary in the New York Times prompted me to start reading his highly acclaimed book, On Writing Well. The book had been recommended by several writers I respect, including John Gruber of my favorite Apple web site, Daring Fireball.

The book begins with a firm exhortation to simplify:

“Look for the clutter in your writing and prune it ruthlessly. Be grateful for everything you can throw away. Reexamine each sentence you put on paper. Is every word doing new work? Can any thought be expressed with more economy? Is anything pompous or pretentious or faddish? Are you hanging on to something useless just because you think it’s beautiful?

Simplify, simplify.”

I’m two chapters in to Zinsser’s book and already more aware of how sloppy my writing is. I just went back to the post I wrote yesterday and trimmed a few unnecessary words.

Writing should serve a purpose, and anything that detracts from that purpose should be eliminated. Simplify. Do less, better.

This is good advice for writing, but it applies well to living, too.

Consider the passage above with these changes:

“Look for the clutter in your life and prune it ruthlessly. Be grateful for everything you can throw away. Reexamine every thing (or commitment or relationship) you put in your life. Is every thing doing new (or meaningful) work? Can any task be done with more economy? Is anything pompous or pretentious or faddish? Are you hanging on to something (or someone) useless just because you think it’s (or he’s/she’s) beautiful?

Simplify, simplify.”

Steinbeck’s writing advice: Your audience is one single reader

Here is just a bit of author John Steinbeck’s advice on writing, taken from a Paris Review interview:

It is usual that the moment you write for publication—I mean one of course—one stiffens in exactly the same way one does when one is being photographed. The simplest way to overcome this is to write it to someone, like me. Write it as a letter aimed at one person. This removes the vague terror of addressing the large and faceless audience and it also, you will find, will give a sense of freedom and a lack of self-consciousness.

            Now let me give you the benefit of my experience in facing 400 pages of blank stock—the appalling stuff that must be filled. I know that no one really wants the benefit of anyone’s experience which is probably why it is so freely offered. But the following are some of the things I have had to do to keep from going nuts.

            1. Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.

            2. Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.

            3. Forget your generalized audience. In the first place, the nameless, faceless audience will scare you to death and in the second place, unlike the theater, it doesn’t exist. In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person—a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.

This is good.

Focus on just one page at a time. One line at a time. Just the next word, even.

Don’t try to edit as you go. Just let it flow and see where it goes.

And, instead of imagining some potential vast audience or the possible impact of your work or the rewards that might come from it, focus on just one single reader.

Be the reader, in the way that director Christopher Nolan puts himself in the position of his audience when making films. But reading is a solitary affair, so you need to imagine only that one single reader.

One. Single. Reader.

Hiatus

My wife and I are headed out for a week-long adventure and a much needed getaway for just the two of us.

As excited as we are for a vacation together, we are truly sad to leave our kids for a week. We’ve never been apart from them for more than a few days. This little week will fly by for all of us, I’m sure, and bring us back together refreshed and with renewed appreciation for each other. (Or lifelong bitterness from our kids that they were stuck in school while mom and dad were frolicking in the sun on a tropical getaway.)

For this week, though, I also will be taking a hiatus from posting here daily.

I challenge myself to post daily. And I find it to be a worthwhile practice. I begin each day with the expectation that I need to find something worthwhile to share. This intent adds a juicy tension to my days. My antennae are up. Knowing I need to find something to write even a few words about before the day is done, my mind is on a constant search for ideas and insights. I’m a hunter-gatherer of possibilities. Most days don’t deliver any profound poetic breakthroughs. But occasionally I’ll stumble across something that resonates and reshapes my imagination in even a tiny, but meaningful, way.

And then the practice of trying to craft the words to express myself, as hard as it continues to be, brings this painfully earned satisfaction. Writing never feels easy. But it’s a worthwhile struggle.

When doing a guided meditation the instructor may at some point tell you to intentionally let your mind wander away from your breath for a moment. Then, after that pause, you’re guided to bring your attention back to your body and to your breath.

That hiatus and then coming back is a reassuring reminder that you have control. Falling off the path for a moment does not mean you’re lost. It’s the getting back on, and knowing you will get back on the path, that matters.

I just might still post while I’m away this week, but I’m not sticking to my daily discipline. I’ll start a new string of daily writing after this brief hiatus.

Aloha!

 

Apple’s event: MacBook thoughts

I took a day off today. My kids are on spring break, and my wife is out of town for work. Daddy-daughter day included plenty of play time, a trip to the movies (Spongebob… meh), dinner out, and a grocery run. Yet, somehow, I was able to take in the entire live-stream of Apple’s product announcement event this afternoon.

Kind of like wearing a favorite UGA shirt on a football Saturday, I put on my Daring Fireball t-shirt and pulled up the event on my Apple TV to cheer on the possibilities that would be unveiled. Apple is great at these carefully choreographed events, which are filled with sharp product videos and occasionally genuine surprises. I’m a complete sucker for them. As a fan of both great presentation dynamics and Apple products, these events are right in my wheelhouse.

Today’s event was expected to be about the new Apple Watch. And it is a fascinating new product category that may ultimately change the way many of us use technology. I’m in wait-and-see mode as to whether I will ever want one.

But what I’m still thinking about hours after watching is the new MacBook that was unveiled. It’s lighter and thinner than the 11″ MacBook Air (which my wife has and we both love), yet it has a 12″ retina display and all-day battery life. Plus, it includes new engineering for a flatter, more fluid keyboard and something Apple is calling a “Force Touch” trackpad which responds to how hard you tap. There’s a bit of trade-off in that the processing power of this new MacBook is not as robust as what you can get in a MacBook Pro. This is not the machine for those doing regular heavy lifting like video editing and Photoshop.

This new MacBook, though, looks like the ultimate writing machine. The form factor seems like they’ve finally hit the sweet spot for portability and features. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling famously said a few years back: “The MacBook Air changed my life.” She felt it was the ultimate writing tool because of its size and performance. This new MacBook improves on the Air in many ways, but especially with the HD screen.

And you can see the convergence across product lines for Apple. If an iPad married a MacBook Pro, this is what their offspring would look like. This MacBook is a bit like an iPad that runs Mac OS with a killer keyboard attached.

My personal Mac is an old iMac that’s more than six years old. This new, svelte MacBook has jumped to the top of my wish list. And Space Gray? Yes, please. (Guess I need to start saving. That hot water heater we had to replace today did not help…)

The iMore crew has a good summary of the features and a glowing early assessment from their time giving the new MacBook a go in the hands-on opportunity after today’s event.

 

 

Art & Fear: The ceramics class and quantity before quality

This story from the book Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland popped up in a favorite technology blog yesterday:

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

His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty 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, came 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.

Brilliant. And I’ve been having this lesson delivered to me repeatedly over the past year. Quantity leads to quality. I don’t know if I’m learning it. I still get stuck overthinking, delaying, waiting for inspiration. When what I need to do is just show up. Do work. And keep showing up.

Attempt mediocrity, even. Dare to write one really awful sentence if you have to. It takes the pressure off. And mediocre might just lead to good, which every now and then might get me to awesome. But if I start by expecting to begin with awesome, I might just sit there instead, waiting for lightning to strike. Or, more likely, start scrolling Twitter and RSS feeds.

Quantity. Hammer away at the thing you want to get good at. Not to the point of grooving an easy path or just mailing it in. You need to challenge yourself routinely with hard things, by stretching your skills. But the more you do, the better you’ll be.

Don’t wait for the muse to show up. Your showing up is more likely to summon the muse than the other way around.

The ceramics class story, by the way, has been linked in several places (Cool Tools, Herbert Lui, and Coding Horror are three I found), and then I saw that book recommended today in a Chase Jarvis post, 6 Books Guaranteed to Make You More Creative. I have five of his recommended six books. The one I’m lacking: Art & Fear. The internet, great and powerful, clearly, is telling me to get that book.

Just keep scrolling

Rands in Repose linked to Michael Sippey who linked to Anil Dash’s post from last fall, 15 Lessons From 15 Years of Blogging and this particular insight:

The scroll is your friend. If you write a bad post or something you don’t like, just post again. If you write something great that you’re really proud of and nobody notices, just post again. One foot in front of the other, one word after another, is the only path I’ve found to an overall body of work that I’m proud of. Push posts down the page, and the good and the bad will just scroll away.

Make a home for yourself on the internet. Own your URL. And tend to your site regularly, daily even. Express yourself. Observe. Analyze. Stand for something. Share what you’re learning.

Maybe no one ever reads it. But the practice of expressing yourself in public, where at least there’s the potential for others to read your words or see your art or hear your music or watch your videos, that practice is good for you, for your mind and for your heart.

And the good posts and the bad and the mediocre will line up and will fill your screen with your work and guide you to a better understanding of who you are and where you can go.

Kind of like life, a regular habit of showing up and sharing online will build, bit by bit, a body of work. Some days are better than others. Occasionally, something with truly shine. Just keep scrolling.