This has been a long time coming. I divulged my interest in writing to a friend, Human Younessi, who urged me to just do it. He encouraged me to write about anything that was personal and even offered to read my writing. I recall the starting of a piece about my mother, at the time (whose health issues still plague her life today)[^1]. Several years thereafter, I had coffee with a college professor, Melissa Everett, who said just do it. “Start writing”, she told me, “there is nothing stopping me, but me.” I could not disagree, still I not done it. Three years ago, I found the personal motivation to start writing, realizing the importance of my own professional development, and my long-term need to become a thought leader. I spent more time worrying about a website, content layout, and distracting myself with nonsensical things than what mattered: creating content. When it came to writing, I worried more about what I was saying than saying nothing at all (i.e. not hitting the publish button).
During two trips to San Diego in the winter and spring, I found some inspiration in a freelancer friend who took it upon herself to practice her art — mainly painting. All told, I realized I needed a daily goal, like a pedometer for work. If I am to be a thought leader and if I am to build a personal brand and publish meaningful content, I need to practice. And there is no shame in failing. I can overcome failure, I cannot, however, overcome never putting myself out there.
I devised these four working-goals:
- Publish at least 300 words per day
- Start a podcast
- Leverage tagging to create topical threads and go down rabbit holes
- Document my many curiosities — become a thought leader!
The third one might be a bit odd, so let me explain. I appreciate podcasts and articles that address current events. They are timely and informative, but sometimes, if not often, it only scratches the surface of a topic. Experts come on a show, share their knowledge and opinions, and thirty-minutes later it is all over; ready for the next topic. I want to host a conversation and afterwards reflect, thinking about the unanswered or unspoken questions, only to share the episode with another friend, have them listen to the episode, and pick up the conversation with them. This time, going further — or digressing — based on the previous episode, thereby having threads of on-going conversations. It is almost like that game, where you start by writing a sentence and passing the sentence to the person on your left, who in turn reads your sentence and writes one of their own. After writing their sentence, they fold over the paper covering the previous sentence, such that only their newly constructed sentence is exposed for the next person to see, review, and write.
At first, I thought the 300 words per day was it. I registered 300words.blog and I was off and running, but it never stuck with me. I am not sure any “theme” would keep me glued to this objective I’ve set, but it also seemed generic and too open. Two weeks ago, my husband shared some feedback he had gotten at work and the proverbial lightbulb went off. Feedback! This is what connects all my dots. Feedback and control loops, it all comes back to this idea of inputs and outputs, how we handle data and information — and how we react as a result. Immediately my mind went to that moment in Short Circuit 2, you know, where Johnny 5 bee-lines it into a bookstore to read what seems like hundreds of books in minutes. “Input! Input! Input!” He bursts while voraciously fanning pages past his eyes before flinging the books afterwards. “Need input!” He shouts. That was it. All my curiosities start from the same place: questions in need of answers. Before I can form a well-informed opinion, I need input. In other cases, I have an opinion, but need to get better informed.
However it goes down, I know what I need to do. Here it goes. This is my personal project to contribute to my personal and professional development, to become a thought-leader.
[^1]: I am attempting to find this document, but will have to dig a bit more as my initial search came up short.