I've stopped publishing for several years on my website, mostly because I started to feel that my essays needed to be perfect, and of course anything that I wrote would never make the cut, and hence I've got thousands of journal entries in the last few years but nothing that I have actually deemed worthy of sharing with the world.
As I approach my 30s, I have decided that I need to think more carefully about what I care about in life, and writing and thinking are very much high up there in my list of priorities, especially essays. I have always enjoyed writing essays and I know from speaking with many people that others enjoy reading them, and so this is something that I want to actually do with my time. Instead of aiming to be perfect or better than other people, and I am just going to focus on writing something that I think is good enough and that I am not disappointed with.
Perhaps this is a counter intuitive approach, because perhaps only publishing something that you're proud of should be the goal, but I am not sure about this any longer. I have so many things going on in my life with running two companies and also just generally trying to live, that this seems the right approach for me. I am thinking that my 30s will be the decade where I draft many ideas that I will then develop into a more concrete form in my 40s, I still have not lived or experienced enough in my life to be able to actually write something of real meaning, and so this is just my practice round, so to speak.
I write this at the end of a 10 day holiday, and I wonder if it will hold true tomorrow once my responsibilities and work start again, or if I will just sink into my usual routine and forget all about it - quite likely!
I also feel that the issue nowadays is that a lot of what we see and experience online is so filtered and perfect, as we do not really see the behind the scenes work that goes into creating all the images and words we interact with. I start to think that this is how first drafts are supposed to be, while it is actually completely the opposite.
Hemingway famously said that "the first draft of anything is shit", and he was right. If we take a look at Beethoven's manuscripts, they are full of crossing outs, reworking, and so on. In the digital age, this is all missing because we do not have access to that part of the creative process, which will be a shame for future generations.
In some ways, this collection of essays that I have written is one giant draft for some book or series of books that I want to write in the future, and it's my way to make a little bit of progress without too much pressure.
Hopefully, you'll now hear from me a whole lot more!