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Posts in Writing
Your passion may be dangerous

Is it just careless copy or do we actually believe a rockstar engineer is passionate about a fast paced environment?

Maybe we should watch out for all the passion talk. “Follow your passion” might be the worst lie we’ve been told.

The illusion of a magic moment that points to a direction that makes all the sense in the world may be just that. An illusion. There may be people (like me) who get excited about a bunch of things, every once in a while, there may be something that seems like a passion. It may fade, and then come back. 

You may get a quick start, then you get stuck. But if you liked it at first, if it liked you, that may be it. That may be one if them. 

That may be it for now.

If you liked it at first, if it liked you, that may be it.

So no, don’t follow your passion. Follow opportunity. If one of those pops up, you may get some early wins. You keep at it. Even when it’s not glamorous, even if you can’t - or don’t want to tell your friends. Even if you don’t fit in. If you liked it at first, if it liked you, that may be it.

Your place to develop. Your place to flourish. Your place to build character and find meaning. Yes, there is meaning in tough work. As there is in meaning in struggle and strain.

The place for hard work, good work, and most of all bad work. 

If you want good people, passionate people, you can do as little as care about what you’re saying. Carelessness is worse than incompetence.

Speak less, say more

How much is enough?

I made a website for our studio and said very little. Some thought that anyway.

There are those who get it. And there are those who don’t. Those who do are the ones we like. Those who care enough to think about the meaning. About the why. Those open to connect with the emotion.

This is slow food as opposed to fast food. Slow fashion vs fast fashion. This is slow work. Not too slow but not fast. It’s thoughtful work. It’s writing when I have something to add. It’s posting when I have something to say not because it’s Tuesday.

Slow food vs. fast food

Doing the work for those that are ready to listen. It won’t spell it out for you. I’ll do something better. I’ll think about it a lot, I’ll put in the work to make it better. I’ll put in the work to make you think. If you care enough you will connect. Connect to the emotion that is necessary to create something new.

This will not get me views. My most viewed post has 5k views and I have no idea why. My favorite post has 700. Don’t look at the numbers.

If you show up, they will have to look for you.

The maker has another job as well. She must must find those that care and make it better for those that care enough to buy in. Those who repay the gift. She must make it easy for them to find her.

If you just make it, they won’t come. If you make it good enough, if you show up, they will have to look for you.

Those are your true fans, your best clients, your friends. Those are the ones that get it.

Those who got it reached out about our work. Those who didn’t, those reached out to say they didn’t get it. Thanks for reaching out.

I said just enough.

What’s the one thing you cannot not do?

The opposite is doing nothing. 

You’ve got all these ideas floating around. All these signals you pick up during the day. They are ready to play. They’re ready to become something.

They are ready if you are.

It’s the sitting down that makes you a creator. Sitting down, relentlessly, throughout the days and weeks. If you show up, ideas will, too. What kind of ideas? Doesn’t matter. What matters is that you show up.

If you don’t, they won’t.

The good ideas, the ideas that develop, that are elegant and insightful, those are scarce. If they’re effective, if people care, those are even more precious. The only way to find those, is to put out a lot of stuff.

Writing about writing again. 

Why do we write about writing?

In my mind, it’s simple and complex at the same time. You wouldn’t believe what writers go through to put it down on the blank page. They search the world for the perfect notebook. For the perfect pen, the perfect paper quality. They book hotel rooms, they bore themselves to death just so they do something they, after all, want and need to do.

Something they love to do, something they are very good at.

It’s the same with making anything. Except that maybe words are easier to be judged. Words are everywhere, it’s easier to compare. You can always doodle because it’s just a doodle. But anyone can judge this sentence.

If you’re a writer, there are many motivations to writing. But most of all, you’re doing it because you cannot not do it.

You want to practice and you know most of it will be shit. The 80/20 rule. Yet you go for good all the time. And it’s still shit. That is the work. The work is the time you put in at maximum effort knowing it will probably go to shit. The worst thing? Even if it’s not shit, most of the time, you won’t know.

You’re doing it because you cannot not do it.

Now, I don’t know if it’s better if I lay it out like this, or if I just repress thinking about it and do the work. I’m not alone to think about these things. Many writers write about writing. I believe all writers write about writing. Some share it with people.

It’s practice in public. And it’s probably shit.

WritingMartin Uhnak
Don't think

Are you sitting down?

You’ve done done the majority of what it takes.

Writing is more about sitting down than having the right ideas and the right words to express them. Writing is more about sitting down than anything else.

When you sit down and write, something will come out of it. Words will step up to fight the blank page. Some of them good. Most of them bad. Most of it will be crap.

Same with ideas. Most of them are crap. That's the balance. 80 percent of production is crap so the remaining 20 can be something. In fact, the 80% percent of work is work that needs to happen to give birth to the minority good. This is practice.

I have this habit I fall back to when I lose momentum with writing.  When you think about writing, it makes you wonder about that genius idea that you'll write down when it comes. When it doesn't come, no idea is good enough. In fact, if you don't sit down, no idea is good enough.

The habit has a name. I gave it a name so I can quickly identify I'm doing it. I call it thinking in titles.

When I don't write regularly I start thinking in titles. I believe it's self explanatory.

What's wrong with titles? A title doesn't develop. A title is not a story. It's a summary. It's a single point. Usually, when I think about something and I come up with a title first, it's a dead end.

I don't want to preconceive notions for my work. It's not a hit job. I want to think it through along the way. It's a journey.

When I sit down to write, when I remember a story and type it up, it always develops. It becomes something else. Sometimes good. Most of the times bad. But see, bad is important.

I don't always remember a story, and I don't always sit down. What would I write about if I sat down? Those times, nothing gets made. No doors open.

Tonight, just sit down.

Moving on

My blog has a new home. I’m moving my work to my own domain.

Platforms offer a lot to earn and a lot to lose. There is traffic you wouldn’t otherwise get. There is a community. And in case of Medium, there are clever ways to get discovered as a starter.

While a platform is growing, it’s precious. When it gets big, like YouTube, it gets tougher to get discovered. People figure out how to work the system and that’s a lot of trouble you need to take care of if you want to keep the level of engagement. Time that could be used otherwise.

Then there is the inability to differentiate yourself. Everyone gets a 160 character bio and a profile pic. You are one of the accounts, which sometimes feels great. More and more prolific authors sign up for Medium and it’s nice to be akin. But you are one of the accounts. Same as thousands (or millions?) of others.

Also, there is the buzzing pressure of comparing your work. Watching what everyone else is doing will creep up some point, no matter who or how big of a deal you are. Since you can’t govern the feed, a distraction that will lead you astray will come up, eventually.

So I moved. A few things to note:

  • I disallowed comments. If you have thoughts please reach out via email. I’d love to hear from you.

  • I want to stop checking social media. I’ve found it beneficial to virtually all areas of life to ignore them. I’m reachable via e-mail, and I’m using my accounts for publishing only from now on.

  • I started Letters. It’s not a newsletter because there will seldom be news. Ok, maybe someday. I’m calling it Letters because it’s personal. I want the interaction to be meaningful. As hard as that is to accomplish online, I will try to do that via e-mail. That being said, I will not send you something unless I believe I’m creating real value. Hence, the first letter is not ready yet. (smh)

E-mail is personal, (can be) thoughtful, and there is adequate space between the parties.

Most meaningful interactions I’ve had with people online were through e-mail and video. I want to focus on both of these.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you around.

P.S. I love hearing from people, so please introduce yourself. I reply to all.

(I wrote this blog post using a simple writing tip)