You don’t have to read the whole book

Take the knowledge you need. Use it. Share it. And move on to the next.

Many books would be great blog posts but instead got dragged out into a whole book. They probably started out that way. Then someone came along and said, ‘Hey we should turn these 1200 words into 60000 and sell it for more.’

I grew up with the internet so my attention span is fleeting.

I’ve got about 3-4 hours a day of deep work time. No where near enough to read all the books I want and work on the things I want to.

This morning, I’m reading The Unpublished David Ogilvy. Its brevity makes it a page turner.

And if you’re a writer, remember, less but better. This is more so a note to self. Kick my ass if I don’t.

Excerpt from The Unpublished David Ogilvy.  

Excerpt from The Unpublished David Ogilvy.  

The key(s) to dealing with writers block

Remember that keychain your mum carried around.

It had a few keys and some other things.

You were fascinated by it.

Each one of the keys unlocked something. Mostly doors.

The green key opened our front door.

One time we got back from the store and my mum had locked the keys inside. We couldn’t get in.

But there was a window around the porch. It was never locked. You could get in if you climbed around the porch and slide the window open.

So my mum starting climbing around the porch.

‘Get down!’ Our grandma was there too. Mums never stop wishing their kids wouldn’t climb so many things.

Our porch was on the second storey. I was watching my mum climb around the bars. My small hands were holding onto her shirt ready to save her if she fell. I was 4 or 5, so there was no chance I’d be able to save her.

Then she slid the window open and yanked her leg inside. The hard part was letting go of the bars and shifting your bodyweight inside the house. I held on extra tight. And then she got in.

Grandma wasn’t happy. But she still came upstairs. It was lunchtime.

One time I got home from school and was locked out. No one was home. So I climbed around the porch, slid open the window and yanked my leg inside. Easy.

I did it a couple more times over the years.

I told my mum each time.

Every time she would say, ‘Daniel, you shouldn’t do that.’

‘But you do it,’ I said, ‘what else should I do?’

‘Wait for me or go down to the Smith’s house.’

I never went to the Smith’s house. They didn’t have an Xbox or a computer.

My mum gave us all green keys. We haven’t been locked out in a while.

The thing is, unlocking the door with the key is no where near as fun as climbing around the porch.

If you’re stuck on not knowing what to write. Think of the keychain.

Write like nobody is reading

Be careful. Don't write that. Somebody might read it.

But what if no one did?

Would it matter?

Every writer wants to be read.

It seems pointless to spend hours filling a blank page with words for no one to read them.

But someone always does. The words always get read.

They're read by you.

In your head. With your voice.

They're a reflection of the story we tell ourselves every day. Whether we're feeling good, or feeling bad. Whether you're excited or scared for what's to come.

When you write like nobody is reading, you can be honest with yourself. The truth reveals itself.

What you'll find is when the truth comes out, others like to read it too. Letting it out is hard to do. And that's why we're all seeking it.

Some won't like your story. That's okay. It gives you a chance to consider their arguments and make yours stronger. Or change them all together.

And if you don't like your story, you can always change it. After all, you're the one writing it.

47 times

47 times Hemingway rewrote the ending to A Farwell to Arms.

Imagine that. Wrestling with so many different ideas.

Maybe the 23rd time was good but not great.

Then again at 34.

By 46 he must’ve been close to giving up.

Then 47 happened.

What if he stopped at 6? Would the ending have been as good?

I haven’t read the book but there’s a line towards the end which I’ve seen a couple of times before.

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills.”

Titanic was unsinkable, yet it sunk.

My iPad died whilst writing this. So I’m writing it again. Better. I’m filling up the cracks with gold. Just like Kintsugi.

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold. The idea is the repaired piece is more beautiful having been broken.

Everyone wants to be Superman but people can relate better to Batman. Batman went through Kintsugi.

If you’ve been lucky enough to be pushed to breaking point, take a leaf from the Japanese and repair yourself with gold.

If not, you can always rewrite your future. Become your own Batman.