I realise that it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything here. I could conveniently excuse this by saying that I’ve been concentrating my energy on my photoblog – but the reality is that I haven’t felt like writing anything. I simply lost the motivation.
Now, I feel that I want to write again. However, I want to do it in a consistent, sustainable way. The new approach was inspired by Krista Stryker (aka 12minuteathlete) who recently posted a quotation from Jeff Olsen:
Showing up is essential.
Showing up consistently is powerful.
Showing up consistently with a positive outlook is even more powerful.
In many ways, this is true in all walks of life.
I’m going to adopt this philosophy for this blog and see where that leads. The plan is to write one entry each week. These will be posted on Mondays. IF I can achieve consistency in this, then I’ll consider increasing my activity.
(By the way, my photoblog will continue on a daily basis – for those who are even remotely interested.)
No, I haven’t disabled the spell checker!
LAMSTAIH is an acronym created by Andy Stefanovich. It stands for ‘Look at more stuff; think about it harder’. He’s written about it in his book called Look at More, which has the bold subtitle A Proven Approach to Innovation, Growth and Change. I haven’t read the book, although I’ve heard Stefanovich talk about the concept.
Anyway, the point if this entry is that LAMSTAIH is one of the reasons that I write every day.
In our information age, it’s easy to complain about the overwhelm of data, articles, podcasts etc. But it’s really a blessing to have such access. I try to keep my input wide and varied; to stay alert; to scan the horizon; and to stretch beyond my comfort zone.
LAMS isn’t about looking at more of the same. It’s about looking at a range of topics to stimulate your brain, to make connections, to challenge your status quo.
This side of the equation comes relatively easily to me. Although I make a point of updating my input sources form time to time to avoid getting stuck in a rut.
The TAIH aspect is a different problem. Maybe it’s just me, but hard thinking doesn’t come easily. But it’s only when we add this to our input that we add value. It’s a necessary part of continuous learning and development. So, my solution/incentive to do the thinking is to commit to writing.
For me, the best way to think something through is to try to communicate it to some else. And my medium of choice is this blog.
I’ve been thinking about this question as I’ve been posting more regularly. I scratched the surface with an entry a couple of weeks ago. Now, I’m scratching again.
The funny thing is – I have absolutely no aspirations as a blogger. I don’t make any money from it, nor do I want to. Most entries are read by a handful of people, and I’m happy with that.
So why do I write every day?
Firstly, it’s a way to process some thoughts. To string together a few sentences trying to convey something out of my head and on to your screen. This entry was triggered by the brilliant Hugh MacLeod (who produced the cartoon that I’ve used today).
It’s also a way for me to practice the habit of writing in a simple manner. I aim to write for a reading age of 12. (If you’re interested, this entry has a reading age of 10.3)
And writing is a way for me to practice some self-discipline. Even when I get home from work and feel a bit tired or jaded, I sit at my keyboard and crank out something.
There’s one other motivation. But I’ll write about that tomorrow.
“90% of success is just showing up”
Even though I am making strenuous efforts to use less paper, I have to acknowledge that I still love using pen and paper (although I haven’t quite reverted to a quill… yet). I find that jotting my thoughts on paper helps to clarify my thinking.
Typically, I’ll start with an idea or a quotation. Then I’ll doodle a bit; let ideas flow; allow connections to emerge.
Most blog entries start in my ideabook (many end there too!).
I think that the slower pace of handwriting allows my brain to function differently. As a visual person, I like to see things spread out across the page (or on a whiteboard).
And, best of all, by carrying a pen and my ideabook I have limitless connectivity.
Here’s how I developed this entry:
Srinivas Rao advocates writing 1000 words a day, every day. He claims that adopting this habit was life changing
I don’t quite live up to this standard, but between this blog and my journal I’m probably getting close.
And something happens when I write every day – see the doodle. The thing is, I begin to enjoy it. I doodle more, I connect more, and I definitely read more. (Which comes first the reading or the writing? The chicken or the egg?)
But the main benefit, and the biggest surprise, is that I become more tolerant of my mistakes. Some blog entries seem to strike a chord with you (the readers), others draw a blank… and I’m OK with that.
As Srinivas says:
Most of what I wrote was garbage. It mainly still is.
And if I get stuck?
The simplest way to overcome this is to put your fingers on the keyboard and move them…
Or in my case, doodle in my idea book and the garbage starts to flow! More nonsense to follow soon.
This entry is a minor variation on yesterday’s, and was inspired by this sketchnote by Tamnay Vora (@tnvora):
As I roam the interweb and social media I find snippets that I like to share. However, it occurs to me that sharing is not the sole purpose of my online stravaigin’. As well as connecting with people and ideas, my intention extends to the notion of contributing, of offering something additional (value is for others to assess). This is a form of creativity. In Tamnay’s doodle it’s described as bringing ideas to life, taking ideas further, enabling sense-making etc.
And I get pleasure and stimulation from blogging (and tweeting) about these things, which in turn encourages me to do more of it. So the cycle continues (at least in my mind.)
The trigger for this entry was an article by Allison Versfeldt. Given the infrequent and inconsistent posts over many months, it seems like a pertinent question for me to reflect on.
This blog doesn’t really have an underpinning purpose; there’s no target audience; no rationale for what gets posted. It’s simply a way of sharing ideas and stuff that I come across, trying to join some dots, and (occasionally) starting a conversation.For me, blogging is an exploration of ideas found and of my own thinking… and I’m perfectly happy with that. So I will keep writing – hopefully more consistently – and maybe, make some points of connection along the way.