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Journal

Fuck Around and Find Out

The more you fuck around, the more you’re going to find out – a basic concept eloquently illustrated by a man with a graph. 

Austin Kleon shared this TikTok clip a while ago and captioned it “The creative process.” It is the simplest summary of creativity. You fuck around with an idea to find out what works and what doesn’t. 

Whenever I fuck around, I find out what I already knew but insist on forgetting time and again. I rediscover that novelty is always exciting, coming up with many ideas is much more thrilling than nurturing one, structure sucks and it’s far easier to start a new project than finish an old one. 

But whether I’m lacking self-discipline or I was just born this way, the challenge stems from an insistence on fitting a mould that wasn’t made for me.

Giving yourself permission to break away from the conventional and invent your own framework is something every creative must learn. Yet despite several years of writing experience, I’m still learning to trust my creative instincts and not rely too heavily on the affirmation of others. Whether that affirmation arrives via explicit praise from my peers or more implicitly through how closely it resembles what other art has come before. 

Not even my blogging or newslettering has been safe from such doubts. Taking inspiration from a range of content writers, I have tried several times to impose semi-rigid formats on myself. The goal was to create a familiar structure, easily replicated time and again, to gain your trust as a reader. The intention: every time my name pops up on your screen, you know what you’re getting. 

Only every time I outline a template for my writing, I become quickly dissatisfied shortly after its implementation. I find far more joy in creating structure than working within it. 

With this in mind, I’m going to try and throw out all attempts at a singular repeatable format and see what comes. And so I wanted to use this post to share a bunch of random things that have interested me in the past few weeks…

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Journal

Sunday Sharing #7: Rewilding your attention, artificial loneliness, why Taylor Swift is the perfect vehicle for talking about books and more

A cowboy rides along the rails and looks out onto the near desolate fictional state of New Austin in Red Dead Redemption 2. Screenshot from Jacob Geller’s video “Artificial Loneliness.”

There’s little to share on my end this week. The past seven days were filled with exciting ideas and plans but very little action. However, if those plans develop like I hope they will then I’ll have a wealth of things to write about in the near future.

One idea I’m entertaining is moving these weekly logs to a monthly basis so that the posts are meatier and more consistent in the volume of content. I’m also considering increasing the frequency of my newsletter. A definitive decision probably won’t be made until the new year, so stay tuned.

For now, though, here are 10 things from around the web I read/viewed that I felt were worth sharing…

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Journal

Sunday Sharing #2: Seeing only the punctuation, dealing with rejection as a writer, the cult-like world of #PublishingHopefuls and more

Left: Just the punctuation from the opening of Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. Right: Just the punctuation from Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner.

At least until the end of the month I’m going to continue with these lists of things I enjoyed reading/viewing from the week that I think others might enjoy, too. I can already foresee selecting some highlights for this month’s newsletter will be a challenge.

This week’s 10 things I felt were worth sharing:

  1. Clive Thompson on what he learnt about his writing by seeing only the punctuation. He also made a website where you can post your own writing to see just the punctuation. Currently in the process of typing up a post where I analyse my own punctuation.
  1. Jeff Bens advises on how to write a good fight scene.