This is blog 13.
13 days into my 1-year-of-blogging challenge.
I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t certain I was going to make it this far. Well, part of me was certain—some alien, audacious voice that is completely convinced that I’ll be able to accomplish a marathon of writing that even John Steinbeck in his prime never accomplished.
But! There was a far more reasonable, grown-up voice that said to me, “You know, David, maybe you won’t make it that far—but at least you’ll have written something.”
I hate that voice.
He aims too low.
Anyway, in case you wanted to subject yourself to the grueling effort of putting out 365 blogs in 365 days, here’s what it takes!
1.) It Takes Utter Confidence That You’re Not Full of Crap
Okay, guys, for real—there’s no way the best of us don’t get imposter syndrome.
In case you don’t know, imposter syndrome is a pattern of thinking that convinces a person that they are unqualified or wrong for their job and will one day be discovered for the fraud and fool that they are.
It’s usually coupled with the belief that everyone around them is the Real Deal, and they’re the only one who is a dum-dum hiding among a crowd of savant geniuses.
Rationally, it makes no sense because for imposter syndrome to work, you have to believe two contradictory things:
A.) That you’re a dumb person who has no right to be in your position because everyone around you is so smart and on top of their game.
B.) That everyone who interacts with you (or hired you) is somehow too dumb to notice that you’re not qualified (despite, somehow, being sharp and on top of their game).
If you want to put yourself out there, you have to make peace with your imposter thinking—or, at the very least, get good at ignoring it long enough to hit “Publish.”
Alternatively, It Takes Willingness to Be Full of Crap in Public
This works too. Not recommended.
2.) It Takes a Lot of Deliberate Note-Taking
My memory isn’t great.
There’s no way I’d be able to recall a story about Robert Moses destroying Sunset Park and discuss how poverty affects psychology in the same blog with my measly short-term memory.
Everything I write, I get from my notes: either my commonplace book or the margins of books I’ve read. I flip through my notes, pick something interesting, and re-read a few pages to get the details.
Then I write about it.
Seriously, make it easy for you to return to your notes. I guarantee that you have a load of ideas and amazing thoughts in you, and you’ve forgotten 99% of them. The 1% you do remember is the stuff you picked up recently.
The best way to catch all those ideas? Carry around a pocket notebook. Make a habit of writing notes in your phone in the moment. Once a week, gather them together in a place that you have on hand. I like my commonplace book, but I’ve got stuff in Evernote, stuff in my journal, etc.
When you’re ready to sit down and write, all the hard work is done—you’ve just gotta tie it together.
3.) It Takes the Willingness to Fail (or Succeed) Publicly
Honestly you guys, I have no idea how the logistics of publishing 365 blogs in 365 days is gonna work. Heck, I’m shocked I made it to 13. You think I’m gonna have time to write a blog when I’m sick, or moving, or traveling, or my Internet goes out?
What if, God forbid, I run out of things to write about?
But! Here’s the thing: I didn’t think about all those things when I started.
Or, more to the point, I didn’t let all of those thoughts influence whether or not I was going to take the challenge.
I just decided to.
Whatever happens, happens. I’ll do my best, and if I have to publish two blogs in one day, so what? That’s the sort of attitude that keeps me going—the ability to ignore the big mountain in order to make the next few steps.
(I mean, there’s also the fact that there are zero stakes here other than public humiliation, but I digress).
Do Your “Thing.” Please.
Anyway, I don’t know what your “Big Thing” is. Maybe it’s starting a podcast. Maybe it’s writing a novel. Maybe it’s running for office or starting a non-profit.
All I know is that the world is not better off because you decided you weren’t good enough to get off the bench.
But it could be made better by your attempt.
I’ll end with some good words from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist:
When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.