So recently I was talking to someone and it made me realize that I did something really unusual with my career about halfway in.
Basically, by sheer force of will, I went from being a guy who was known for writing a lot of short things to someone who came to write a lot of long, ambitious content. I think the reason this happened was partly structural—in that the industry was changing and moving away from curation, which I had been doing for years—but partly by choice. I decided to stop writing only short things.
I think that once I understood what you could do with the limits of writing, I wanted to understand what happened if you took all the limits off and gave yourself a basically infinite canvas to work with.
I now understand both, and as a result, I tend to write things that are ambitious, long, and breezy.
But limitations still matter. Word counts still need to be winnowed in, and I think that I thrive on limitations.
Back in the days of writing ShortFormBlog, my writing was completely dictated by my schedule—I didn’t have to go into work until 11:30 a.m., so each day I would get up around 7 a.m. or so, find the nearest coffee shop, and write until I hit 10 posts of between 10 and 300 words. I was nuts back then, but I burned myself out.
But that limitation was still useful, and I think that it made me a really fast writer. Now, I’ve been doing long-form writing for so long that my word counts are increasingly flabby. Forcing myself to write in 15 minutes, or half an hour, or what have you, might help me get back into writing shape. So that’s what I’m going to do.
Limitations are good for tuning the old brain. Sometimes your brain needs a workout, too.
Follow me as I tune my brain again. I’ll be doing it mornings usually, but you’re reading it at night because that’s when I came up with the idea.
And if you have any ideas on what I should write about, I’m all ears. Cheers.
— Ernie @ MidRange
Time limit given ⏲: 15 minutes
Time left on clock ⏲: 3 minutes, 30 seconds