How I stay motivated to publish despite being a lazy bastard

I briefly break down my process for staying on top of my writing ideas despite begin a lazy bastard. Procrastinate without guilt.

How I stay motivated to publish despite being a lazy bastard

tldr; I briefly break down my process (in a listical, yay!) for staying on top of my writing ideas despite begin a lazy bastard.

My Software

I use Ghost [1] for my blog (self hosted), and the drafts folder is perfect for me to jot notes and collect thoughts over time.

I am lazy and want no-friction

I found this approach works well for me simply because I am lazy and there is little friction. The transition from draft to published happens in the same place. Most of my pieces here are short (under 1000 words), so it is manageable via a browser.

My work-flow

  1. It usually begins with a thought on a post-it or notebook
  2. Bring that immediately into a draft on the blog
  3. Start brian-dumping fragments, thoughts, sentences
  4. Group fragments together under headings that get a clever title
  5. That forms the structure of the piece. Some thoughts are evicted or pushed into their own separate draft.
  6. Back-fill each section with research and supporting materials (links, pictures, code snippets, etc)
  7. Write a tldr;/summary on top. Conclusion on bottom.
  8. Share draft with colleagues and Mom
  9. Publish

There are quite a few benefits when I work this way.

Feeding the monkey brain on dopamine

I like the quick hits of accomplishments when I publish. It get to double-down on that when something I write get engagements on places like Hacker News, Reddit, or LinkedIn.

I have come to better understand and execute my career path

The more I write the more I realize what I knowledge I took for granted. When I share that knowledge it resonates with a certain audience (younger engineers and entrepreneurs in my case). This has led me to do more mentor-ship and facilitation both in my side-hustles and in my day job.

The more I write the more ideas I get for writing

See step #5 up there? Some ideas get pushed into their own posts, which feeds the content monster. At any given time I have about 40-50 thoughts and partly-written pieces sitting in my drafts folder.

Putter and procrastinate without guilt

Ok, I'll admit that this particular behavior was harder to develop. At first I did not even remember that I had a drafts folder to goof off with. However, over time it has been something I revisit daily as a kind of "puttering" around the house, only I'm "puttering" around online.

This might be an article unto itself. This is a good way to get rid of writers block or the anxiety of "needing to write" – sometimes I can simple come back to an unfinished piece, make some grammar edits, or add some new thoughts now that it I have some distance from it.

In the end of a 30-minute putter I don't feel guilty. Instead I belive that I have added value to my blog.

I write better documentation

Most software developers don't enjoy writing documentaiton. We usually employ people to do specifically that part. That said, I find that this process can also be applied to other areas, like READMEs and Confluence pages. In turn, better documetnation leads to better onboarding and more people using my open-source contributions. And that feels good.

Final thoughts

Find ways to be lazy. Mimize friction so that starting a sentence is painless.

Incompleteness is ok. Save as a draft, let the thought simmer, and come back to it later.

Setup your workflow in the right way so that you can procrastinate without so much guilt.

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Photo in opengraph image: Sharon Co Images on Unsplash

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