In November, I decided to experiment with posting more often. I said “every day,” but the spirit of the experiment was more just to write more often, and to post things when they weren’t as close to what I consider done: Prioritize quantity over quality.
What did I learn?
First of all, of course, posting more often meant lower average post quality. The quality of the prose and writing structure suffered some, but less than I expected. The topics of the posts were more eclectic, as posting more often meant forcing myself to push through an idea I wasn’t really sure was worth writing about. And the ideas were less thought through. If I’m not pressed for time, I’ll write something up, read it a few days later, and potentially basically rewrite it to incorporate the insight I gained from the process of writing the first draft. Instead, I was posting these first drafts without the extra thought. This meant that my posts were less likely to be insightful, and more likely to be analytically flawed or just factually wrong.
But these downsides had dual upsides. One important lesson I learned from posting “every day” was that I’m not actually very good at knowing what posts will be the most worthwhile before I write them. One of the posts I’m most proud of, about colonialism and fire policy, was written only because I wanted to force myself to write. I was casting around for a topic, figured fire policy was easy because I already knew quite a bit, and only realized halfway through writing it that what I was saying would be probably completely new and insightful for a lot of people.
So ultimately, I guess the actionable lesson here is that I should be taking more risks and expending less effort per topic. If I have an idea, try writing it up, and see where it takes me. If it ends up being a one-off post that goes nowhere, that’s okay. If I end up building on it, that’s awesome. And I need to be less afraid of being wrong. Of course accuracy is important, but at some point, the marginal accuracy increase isn’t worth the marginal cost of deliberating longer.
Of course, this kind of a change will mean a lower average post quality, but hopefully it will also mean a greater number of posts that surpass the threshold that I would consider “good.”