This is Hubris: 10 January 2021 edition, the newsletter where I have the audacity to think I’ve written something worth reading.
My current pet peeve is people who try to win arguments by citing how much money they make, or how many social media followers that have. As if the real world is a strict meritocracy. There are plenty of people who earn egregious sums of money but are still dangerously bad at their jobs. Having the multitudes tracking them on Twitter, TikTok, or whatever doesn’t mean their opinions are factually correct or deserving of attention. It’s a false equivalence at best. At worst it says terrible things about their own self-worth, as if their only value as a human being is that one metric and their ability to lord it over other people.
Less is Now
The Minimalists: Less is Now is a fantastic documentary. So far I have watched it 4 times. At 53 minutes it is concise in its messaging. It came about at the right time, as I’m reassessing my priorities and trying to be more flexible in these uncertain times.
Their story is my story. Being successful but miserable in a well-paid corporate job. Having a marriage unravel because stress and money and unrealistic expectations of life. Taking a minimalist path and finding peace and happiness.
It’s on Netflix, along with the first documentary about The Minimalists. Check them out.
I am a Literary Snob (Apparently)
So there’s a person of my acquaintance that regularly chastises me for not including pictures in my books. They don’t need illustrations or diagrams. It increases the cost of production for me and the price point for consumers for no reasons. Everyone else does it, though, so they think that’s a reason I should do it too.
This same person recently called me a snob because I don’t think listening to an audiobook is the same as reading a physical book. Yes, there are studies that show that both provide some of the same benefits. You’re not learning spelling and grammar, though. The ability to re-read something I didn’t quite understand, parsing out the words, is hard to do with audio. I sometimes like to re-read passages for the beauty of the prose.
Anyway, I pointed out that audiobooks don’t have pictures and that seems to have shut them up.
My 2021 Writing Paradigm
Since I don’t do resolutions and the state of the world has caused me to abandon goals, I’m now using the word paradigm. Having a pattern to the way I work will get me where I want to go. If I develop good habits, I shouldn’t have to think about deadlines. The work will get done, in a reasonable time frame.
Anyway, since mid-December the paradigm is writing a minimum of 6 pages per day. The writing has to be on an active project or it doesn’t count. Typically I have 2 or 3 active projects going at once; if I get stuck or bored, I move to one of the others for a while. That’s an old habit that keeps me moving.
I don’t have to stop at 6 pages, so if I’m on a roll I can keep going. Any extra pages, however, don’t roll over. If I write 10 pages, that’s not 6 today and 4 banked toward tomorrow. I still need to do 6 tomorrow. After I’m done with my 6 pages, I can work on anything else I want, including this newsletter and any essays I want to write for this site.
So far, it’s working. It’s far less stressful, and I’m better able to get other tasks done. Writing is the core work, after all, so it should be the centerpiece of my day.