I have two blog posts in draft form sitting in nvALT at the moment. One is about my time mentoring students at Red Academy. Another is about the hiking and camping trips I’ve taken over the last year. Add to that another half-dozen ideas that have been percolating in my head for far too long and it all adds up to feelings of disillusionment, discouragement, and discontent.
It’s never been easier to publish writing online. Hell, it’s never been easier to publish just about anything online. It’s not a technical challenge I face. It’s a psychological one.
Truth is, those same feelings apply to a number of areas in my life. I do not feel that I’m living up to my potential, nor do I feel a true sense of what the limit to that potential is. It’s not a matter of talent or inspiration or even time. It’s a matter of discipline. And discipline is born of routine.
In 2013, Julie Zhuo made a commitment to herself to write once a week. Her first post — a denunciation of January — has absolutely nothing to do with her article about Imposter Syndrome that brought her work to my attention. Nor did it have anything to do with the lessons she’s shared from her career on Facebook’s product design team. But that article set her on a path that has enriched not only her own life but the lives of thousands upon thousands of designers around the world, yours truly included.
I have long dreamed that my work would have that kind of effect. That the words I transmit over these wires would impact people the way countless others’ have impacted me. But I’ve allowed fear and doubt prevent me from even trying.
Two weeks ago, I attempted and failed for the second time to complete Shawn Blanc’s Focus Course. Despite the fact that I designed his website and had access to the content well before it was published publicly, I neglected to take advantage and allow it to cause the type of change I’ve witnessed it cause in others. It’s not that I haven’t had the time. With no kids, no pets, and an enviable work/life balance, I have no excuse.
Back when I was recording the Hundred Down podcast, one of the key things that kept me going was the accountability and encouragement from our listeners. Their support combined with that of two good friends gave me the strength to lose nearly sixty-five pounds in a matter of months. When I gave up, it had been several months since we had recorded a podcast. I had secluded myself to a windowless basement apartment and settled in for a long winter.
Save for popping up to post the ocassional offensive joke on Twitter and, more recently, share my experience working with HabitStack, I’ve still been living in hibernation.
While my team and I have been growing and building awesome products, I’ve been silent about the mistakes we’ve made and what we’ve learned from them. While I’ve been learning about and practicing design sprints, I haven’t shared my experience and how this wonderful tool can help people in any industry solve really tough problems.
That’s not how I envisioned my life would be. That’s not why I’ve spent over 10 years publishing my thoughts online. I did it so I could find a community of like-minded people who just want to create something amazing and learn from those around them.
It’s not January, but like Julie I think it’s time for me to make a resolution. I resolve to write and publish something — anything — once a week. It might not be good and it likely won’t be well-received. But if I don’t start fucking up now, then when?