I’ve been dismayed with how little I’ve written this year. Though I’ve done many things in 2020 (learned node.js, took an online data science class, learned some OpenCV), I’ve really dropped the ball on writing.
Developing “tiny habits” is the secret. Same time, same place, same routine, every day. We brush our teeth and shower every day without giving these basic activities any thought. By completing these basic tasks every single day, in the long run, we ultimately develop good and enduring health.
The challenge, of course, is writing requires forethought. Brushing one’s teeth is a purely mechanical exercise, a task that requires zero mental exertion.
Writing, however, especially if it’s long-form, requires some degree of thought. It is similar to programming. Coding an app is relatively trivial once you’ve actually set your sights on a destination. It’s deciding where you actually wish to march your army that is the challenge.
In analytics and learning theory, they call this dichotomy “exploration” versuses “exploitation.” Exploration is the task of ideation, brainstorming, and learning what is possible. Exploitation is leveraging what you actually know and bringing all that knowledge, all of those tools you’ve painstakingly acquired over the years, to bear on a singular task to accomplish a specific objective.
Moving forward, I am committing to writing 250 words on this blog every single day for the next 30 days. John Scalzi at Whatever embarked upon a similar project several months ago and I found his experiment inspiring. 250 words is short. As of this sentence, this post is exactly 250 words.