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Hat-tip to Holly Tse for organizing this interview!
Holly Tse: This is a question that probably is worth asking again, because Charles has sent another question about your recommendation if you should write every day, or every week, or just write when the fancy takes us. He says, “I know that having a regular deadline or writing quota has a positive benifit.” Do you use any deadlines or quotas when you’re writing your blog?
Sacha Chua: In terms of choosing a quota for my blog – and I have a blog post about this called “One post a day” – my quota is actually in the reverse direction. I found myself so excited that I was writing so much… I thought, well, all these people are getting e-mails, and they’re subscribed to all this stuff… Maybe I should throttle it down to one blog post a day. If you stop and you think about it, you learn so much each day. You experience so much each day. If you don’t have at least one thing worth writing about each day, there’s more in your life that you can hack and improve. There’s so much going on each day. For me, blogging has become such a useful tool that I like writing every day.
Some days are a little slower than others. Maybe I have a hard time grasping for the right thing to say. I’ve posted my thoughts on grocery shopping, for example. For the most part, I just sit down and I think, “What did I learn today that somebody else might want to learn?” “What do I want to do to make things better the next day?” There’s always an opportunity to do this.
It all depends on your comfort level. You can write every week, every month, sporadically if you want to… On the other hand, if you flipped it around and you stopped thinking, “I’m going to have to blog; what do I blog today?” and you think, “Well, there’s so much happening in life; what do I want to write about most? What do I most want to remember? What do I most want to share?” You’re surrounded by stories. You’re surrounded by ideas. Then you just have to deal with the frustration of not being able to get it all out and into other people’s heads as easily as you want to do so! There’s just so much to write about. Write as often as you can. Write because it helps you, not just because you need to. Write as a way to have fun, and learn more about yourself and life and everything.
HT: Good answer. Basically, whatever works for you.
SC: Whatever works for you, but you know, this writing daily thing is actually really really awesome. Of course, I’m going to be nice. I’m not going to stand over you with a whip and say, “Back to work! You haven’t written your blog post for the day.” But life is just full of awesome amazing things. Even though it seems like sitting down and writing for fifteen minutes or thirty minutes is an interruption that takes you away from your day, if you flip it around–if you write in the process of doing something…
For example, if I’m working with a particularly knotty programming problem or I’m trying to figure out a difficult decision, I’m not waiting until the end, when I’m busy and other things demand my time; I’m writing in the process of figuring things out. Then, afterwards, it’s just: Can I tidy these notes up and share them with other people? Which parts am I saving in my private notes, and which parts am I sharing on my blog? That takes five minutes, ten minutes to clean things up for other people after I’ve been writing in the process of learning.
Something I’d recommend too: don’t just sit down and think, “I’ve got to write a blog post; what am I going to write about?” Use it to learn. Use it in the process of living. Then decide: Is this something I can share with other people? What can I do to this so that I can share it with other people? Then you’ll find that your life is full of material.