The first takeaway was captured before the events of this week. I’m not sure if it’s precient, or simply coincidental. Regardless, change is. Not a typo — it just is.
I hope you’re weathering the change that is always our current reality well.
“Life is a series of changes, with or without your consent”
Why Albert Einstein Said: The Measure of Intelligence is The Ability to Change – Thomas Oppong – (Medium) – Acceptance of change is one of my hot buttons. Or, rather, lack of acceptance. If this article were a stick I’d want to hit a few people over the head with it. I know, I know, it’s within my bubble — it probably speaks to me because it endorses my preconceived opinion. That’s not always a bad thing.
The article is mostly about embracing and seeking out change in order to grow. That’s fantastic. But as you might imagine, I’d be happy if a few more people would just accept the inevitable change around them a little more gracefully.
“This reader will always stumble over your errors.”
Several Short Sentences About Writing – Verlyn Klinkenborg – (ebook) – I think we all know that reader. 🙂 One of the best ways to proofread your material is to publish it. Many of your readers will not hesitate to tell you of their discoveries. That’s not a bad thing.
This was part of a longer quote that caught my eye:
Every reader is always two readers. One reads with a deep, intuitive feel for the way language works And yet with overwhelming literalness. This reader (no matter what he consciously knows about grammar or syntax) is troubled by mistakes, misspellings, And especially the syntactical miscues that cause ambiguity. This reader will always stumble over your errors. If a sentence offers an ambiguous path—two ways of being read—this reader will always take the wrong one.
Many years ago I had an argument with someone where I took the position that “if someone doesn’t understand you, it’s your responsibility”. Indeed, what we say and how we say it is the only thing we have control over. Blaming the listener does no one any good. In the case of the quote: a good sentence offers no ambiguous paths.
Honestly, I’m getting multiple takeaways from this book. Thumbs up.
“The best way to get better at writing headlines is to write them every single day.”
This is actually a takeaway from a video “Get 10,000 Views on a Single Article” which Tim Denning give you for signing up to his newsletter. The importance of headlines is not lost on me, and neither is the difficulty of writing them. On one hand, articles need to deliver on what the headline promises. On the other hand articles don’t matter if no one reads them because the headline doesn’t promise what they’re interested in or looking for. What’s in it for the reader? This flows into YouTube as well — both titles and thumbnails.
“Don’t Ritualize Your Writing Process”
This is from an email sequence I started getting by signing up for Todd Brison’s newsletter. The take-away, more completely, is in contrast to Stephen Pressfield’s advice which Todd summarizes as involving:
a special desk
prayer to the gods
and — somehow — a toy cannon.
To me rituals are an excuse not to write. (Which is ironic since Pressfield’s the one noted for for having the clearest characterization of the forces that seem to try to prevent you from writing, which he calls “resistance”.) While I’ve tried to optimize my environment to make writing, and all content creation easier, it doesn’t include barriers that I “must” have, or steps I “must” take. I’m always experimenting with new ways to capture my thoughts more efficiently.
Anyway, this takeaway just made me feel validated. 🙂
“It’s easier to do something every day than once in a while.”
40 One-Sentence Productivity Tips – Josh Spector – (Medium) – Several of them are pithy, and in some cases old tropes that we’ve all heard a million times before. But, indeed, there’s still gold in there. This tip (#7 for those counting) resonated because it codifies something that I’ve been doing myself: establishing small, daily habits. Much like publishing a newsletter each week has resulted in a library of thousands of articles, and an archive of hundreds of newsletters, even the small stuff can really — and I mean really — add up. It’s certainly not the only way to accomplish things, or even the right way for everything, but be it tweets or takeaways, some work lends itself to incremental, even daily, progress.
“Focus on what your customer wants to hear about, not what you want to talk about”
How to instantly show your value – Wes Kao – (Blog, via For the Interested) – This is something I struggle with constantly, and it kinda makes sense. What people want are easy answers; a recovered account, a return to the interface they’re most comfortable with, and so on. Sometimes I can give them what they want, but sometimes I can’t. Nowhere is this more apparent on articles discussing account recovery. People get upset when I don’t give them the answer they want. My challenge is to give them the answer they need — whether they know or want it themselves, or not. The answer they need can often save them significant amounts of time flailing around for an answer that simply doesn’t exist.
“The secret is in the line.”
Charles Bukowski, quoted in If You Learn to Write, You Can Change Your Life. – Ali Mese – (Medium) – Honestly the author had me at the title of the article. It something that I believe strongly, wish more people understood, and wished that I’d understood when I was much much younger. The full article is on story telling, and the unique takeaway for me is that Single Line mentality.
But like I said — the author already had me.