How to Avoid Writer’s Fatigue

You can probably tell what the inspiration for this blog post was.

 

After starting up the weekly blog again, I had begun anew with nothing. All of my extra Monday Chat topics from a year ago had been lost to time, and so instead of being able to choose from a few dozen topics, I could only choose from three. And although the three were fairly good, none of them were good for this week. Or at least, that’s what I convinced myself in my head.

Certainly, I had fallen into some sort writer’s fatigue over the long weekend. I’ve experienced this fatigue before; it has been what has caused me to stop the weekly blog every other time it had ended. One day you wake up and think “You know, I really just don’t want to do this”. Yes, writing is supposed to be fun, but at some point it becomes routine. And then it’s less fun.

I’ve fallen into this trap with the podcast before as well. A podcast (especially my type of podcast) should be incredibly simple; set up a good mic and talk for an hour. But sometimes there’s a prevailing boredom that comes over the idea of talking about something; after all, what is there to talk about?

So, falling into this trap many times before, I’ve decided to make a guide as to the steps I’ve taken to halt this process as much as possible:

 

Go on a walk

Get out of the house and go walk. Go walk to somewhere you haven’t been. If you live in the suburbs, check out the surrounding neighborhoods. If you’re in an urban setting, see what the city has to offer. Bring a small journal with you and as little  What’s important is that you free your mind of the current situation and try to think of new ideas or things to write about outside of a familiar setting.

Another important step in this process is to not bring headphones. You walk places with headphones to tune out the surroundings; in this case, you’re trying to tune into them. Absorbing new environments springs forth new ideas. Along this vein, bring your phone only if necessary and if you do, only use it to check the time (that includes not reading/ignoring new notifications). Now that we’re in a good setting, it’s time to start thinking of ideas.

 

Getting the ideas

The best piece of brainstorming advice I’ve ever gotten is this: brainstorming should be a form of creative vomit. Throw out all the ideas you have before you have a chance to judge them; each idea that you have, even if its garbage, can end up springing forth better ideas. This step is key to our process; as you’re walking, the moment an idea springs forth into your head, find a place to sit and quickly jot it all down. Don’t think about how good it is, or how much you can write on it; that comes later.

Only once you do get back can you look at the full list and decide what’s best. Put down the entire list of topics into a word doc and check each of them out. Take in mind the goal here is to keep as many topics as possible, thus to diversify the potential of what you can write on; of course, if you can’t write on something you can’t write on something, but try to keep an open mind. You can also alter old items to make it better, so keep open to this as well.

 

Some Sidenotes

This is a strategy that I’ve been using for the past year or so, and I’ve found it a great way to deter any sort of fatigue, not just writing. Whether it be studying, doing a project, cold-calling, etc. – this strategy still works, just replace blog topics with whatever you’re working on right now. I also want to use some time to explain the difference between writer’s block and writer’s fatigue. Certainly this method can help both, but I’ve found fatigue to be a greater detriment to my long-term progress than a block. Writer’s block is simply when you can’t think of anything to write; writer’s fatigue is when you simply do not want to write anymore. Try to keep these both in mind when you’re hitting roadblocks in the process.

 

As always, give this post a like/clap if you enjoyed it, and be sure to follow my Twitter for more updates. See you next week.

How Important are Principles?

 

 

Our world consists of various sets of laws. There are laws of nature, laws of government, laws of chess, etcetera. Therefore, one might think there is also, more abstractly, laws of life itself. Of course, we are all unique beings, and so the best way to go about finding these laws of life is not by looking at others but instead looking at oneself.

This, I believe, is the fundamental idea behind having a set of principles. Over the past few months, I’ve experimented by writing down all the things I believe to be “right” about the world and setting them into a single document which I’ve entitled Principles. Each principle is a simple statement of what I believe to be a fact on how to operate in life; making it out to be sort of a manual of sorts. Right now, there is approximately 40 of them, and it is a work that is in constant progress.

Whenever I hit a hard problem or decision I need to solve, I’ve developed the habit of consorting to the principles I’ve written down and thinking: “What is the best next action to take, given these principles?”. And I’ve found that it works. It works really well. Surprisingly well.

The principles aren’t all uniquely my own either; a lot of them have been inspired by things others have said. The entire start of the project was, of course, inspired by the work of Ray Dalio, who I shared quite a few principles in common with. Even more of my principles, however, have come from simply reading what other people have made, or listening to others, and finding nice tidbits from them as well. In total, I get my own unique set of principles by listening to the wisdom of hundreds of other people.

So, now we come to the question of this post: “How important are principles?”. Well, based on my own experience, I certainly think that they help. I would say that principles work best with removing cognitive dissonance and other mental clutter that might result in preventing you from becoming your ideal self. I will certainly be continuing my own experiment with principles because of this, and I do insist that you start to design your own.

I’d also be interested in anyone else’s opinion on principles – do you have your own that you find to be helpful? Feel free to post them in the comments below. You can also (as always) follow my Twitter for more miscellaneous musings.

P.S.: Some astute readers might notice that this post was uploaded on a Tuesday as opposed to the typical Monday release. This is purposeful; I’m changing the release schedule for a few of my projects in order to ensure that they always come out on time. The new permanent (at least, into the foreseeable future) release date for all new blog posts will be Tuesdays instead of Mondays.