The past 29 days have been super rewarding. I've learned so much about myself, my writing style, the ideas I'm exploring, and how much I have left to explore.
One thing I've noticed, though, is that the value of this writing challenge comes from just that — recording your exploration. It's good for drawing abstract maps rather than detailed pictures.
It's given me a newfound appreciation of what thinking actually means. I consider all of these mini-essays to be stray reflections, suited for a platform like Twitter, but never flying in an academic or long-form setting.
There's value in that, but there's also great harm if too much focus is given to that sort of medium.
For me, Twitter and platforms like it are great for being exposed to new and diverse sets of half-baked ideas. I come to Twitter for the roadmap, but the full picture.
This 30-day writing challenge is much of the same. This was a great exercise in exploring what I want to learn, but not as good for actually learning it. The 250 word limit was small enough that I could write something without really saying anything at all.
In a world of limitless ideas, the stray reflection becomes less valuable. They may seem rewarding — they give you that dopamine hit that you're looking for — but the returns diminish quickly, eventually becoming a net negative.
I still have more to say on this, and will sit with the idea more before wrapping up tomorrow. But I'll finish with this:
Ideas are like fuel. You need it to go somewhere, but simply stocking up on fuel doesn't get you anywhere. Short-form writing is like revving the engine — you get the excitement of starting a new journey, but you're still not going anywhere.
My hope is that 2021 is the year that my writing takes me somewhere.