Why don't I just publish?

Great at editing posts, just not shipping

September 2019 ・ 3 mins ・ #writing

I think I’ve uncovered the weak link in my desire to publish more of my own writing.

I’m generally quite good at having ideas. Even sketching out some main points. I love me a mind map. But after I’ve got a V1 out. Sometimes even after I’ve fully fleshed it out and done a second edit I still keep the system together. But the wheels come off the train whenever it gets close to “once this last thing is done I can ship it”.

Maybe it’s self-sabotage?

Perhaps, it’s down to the risk of failure. How else do you explain my inexplicably consistent behaviour of choosing a different paragraph to rewrite each time I open the editor?

There’s nothing at stake when having an idea. Nothing can go wrong when fleshing it out. Actually having a mindmap of ideas and points looks kinda good. That’s something you can give yourself a little pat on the back with. But it’s pretty low-risk.

Even when you start discussing those ideas with others for feedback, it’s 1:1. So at worst, someone thinks you’re wrong. Good news in that situation is that you can easily change things before you talk to the next person.

I think the moment it’s finished and published is when you’ve properly put yourself out there as having those opinions.

Having opinions isn’t a new thing for me, that can’t be scary. But maybe it is at a new scale? The abyss of the internet can be intimidating? I wonder if I treated it like a work meeting whether I’d act the same way.

I have opinions at work and share them freely in that context. I also make sure that they’re considered and thoughtful. Maybe I don’t feel I’ve done that with my personal writing?

What’s going on?

I don’t follow through to shipping an article because something holds me back.

The symptom is the constant rewriting and never ending editing.

The cause may be a combination of not feeling confident with the opinions stated, and (related) fear that what I’ve said is wrong.

What can I try?

Next time I write a post, my goal will be to smoothly go through the editing stages without any significant (week+) delay going from a complete initial write to publishing.

To do this, I will;

  1. Imagine that I’m having a meeting with a colleague and talk them through my thoughts (might even try in person)
  2. Make sure I strip back what I write to only things I actually feel comfortable standing by
  3. Not spend more than 5 days in editing mode before hitting publish, come what may

This is something that’s been with me a long time. I’ve always wanted and intended to write more, but it’s never materialised into actual posts. Just notes and sketches. I hope I’m somewhat right with what I’m guessing here, so that I can actually make a change.

No more of this 🤞


And more of this 🙏

ship it


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