Cogito ergo caffeinatus

Procrastinating Writing: Learning to Write

I have to write 1 email and 1 article. I call them papers, for no reason. I have not been able to progress on them in any meaningful way since the end of trust con.

Something is up, and I don’t know what. Heck I tried a warm up exercise 3 days ago, and ended up writing 5 pages of a novel intro. just to avoid getting to these pieces of text.

I mean, even this is frankly avoidance - but I’ll be damned if I don’t find a way to either fix it, or enjoy it.

What’s the Problem?

The problem is that I am not able to make myself to work on something that I think is important to me. I can try and force my mind to do something, but it will definitely not.

I think There are 2 parts to this issue.

  1. Subconsciously I believe the idea is wrong: There is an issue with the content of the article, and its discomforting me. I’m avoiding thinking about it for some reason
  2. Writing itself: If I can figure out how to write, maybe I can just get Somehthing done, publish it, and deal with the fall out.

Since I am failing forward, lets figure out writing itself! Lets figure out confidence, writing habits, structure and whatever my dear mind will rather burrow into.

Now what

So I am now listening to Neil Gaiman, talk about being a writer. Apparently Ian Fleming hated writing; he would go to a hotel which wasn’t very nice, and then stayed for 7 days and left with a James Bond novel.

Who knew?

I’ve returned to my source of inspiration, that library of Alexandria of the modern age - Youtube. (not Wikipedia). Here I’m looking to understand how to write, and I am starting out with interviews from great authors.

Learning interesting things

Not, Not Writing?

Gaiman has a place where he sits down and just either writes, or looks out of the window. He gives himself permission to not write. He can’t take a call, read a book, do a crossword. All he is allowed to do is absolutely nothing, or write.

Priming yourself

Sanderson had a complimentary point from his novel November (whatever) video. 4th tip: Prime yourself. If you are commuting, doing the dishes, mowing the lawn - some time in your life where your body is active but mind free. Here you can ask - how do write this scene to make it interesting. Play some music that matches the scene. Then when the weekend comes, you just write.


Sanderson had several points. One that might help, even for an impersonal work or technical article, it’s characters.

The reason why I am even considering this is because writing for myself is a relaxing indulgence,. But if I am writing for someone else? Then its communication, and communication only “works” if you have managed to faithfully convey an idea to the other person.

Connection, doesn’t happen magically. It means you and I learn about each other, and then find a way to understand each other. And by you I mean YOU, dear unknown person reading this article. Seriously, past me is wondering who the heck you could be.

But I’m thinking of publishing on LinkedIn but my network is not a homogenous monolith. (Also, bold of me to assume someone is actually going to read it.) Are you going to be an AI expert, a novice? Finance person?

Writing for everyone at the same time is not possible. It means I have to make a call.

This situation is somewhat familiar to me. The details are lost in the grey fog of my mind, but there are moments where I am unsure what the right communication next step is. Very often though, the resolution is when I think of helping the other person.

I suppose that is a touch point for me - Helping.

The question isn’t how do I improve my career, or will the article be popular. It won’t - and while nice, it… it isn’t what I really want.

The question instead is this: “How can I help make the best effort to help you dear reader, enjoy this telling.” (Or maybe serve the characters.)

I may not know you, but I know I am writing for Humans (not you Chat GPT). There are things we are wired to follow - structure, people, emotions, symmetry, poetry. Above all we are wired to understand emotions and social ques.

Characters are the vehicle to deliver this to an article.

What are the motivations of our protagonist? Are they Lazy? Curious? What are their needs, ambitions and wants? How are they actively working on getting what they want the most. What’s the difference between want and need of character. That’s the protagonist.

Choosing your type of progress

There are three parts of a story, the promise - the progress - the payoffs

The Lord of the Rings can be seen as a travelogue. From the Shire to mt Doom. The steps towards the destination, some steps back and some steps to the side. For a mystery novel - the progress is clues. The increasing clarity as clues gather

Not moving quickly enough ? Not sign posting the type of progress the story is achieving. (Adventure , romance ) Give the audience a trail of breadcrumbs indicating the progress we are making