Bad things can be a good thing (10/30)
I'm writing 30 posts in 30 days. This is number 10.
I thought I would do a quick check-in with myself at every 10 posts.
The only stats that matters are my input stats
The nice thing about the Substack is that it focuses on what I call the output stats. Substack, given their model, wants to encourage you to write and create paid newsletters. This means that they would show you stats such as number of subscribers, how many opens, website visitors, and so on.
Given my sporadic writing habit in the past, these are a total distraction for me. The only thing stats that matters to me at this point is that how many consecutive days I publish a post without a break. I call that an input metric. Maybe one day, the number of website visitors and email opens would be the key metric I focus on. For now, I prefer to look at the number of consecutive days I publish without a break. That number as it stands today is 10.
I nearly missed out publishing a piece this past Saturday. I spent the whole day not writing until late Saturday night early Sunday morning, I realized I haven’t published anything for that Saturday. I then hurriedly polished a draft that has been sitting for a few days to make it count as the Saturday piece. Riding on that momentum at 1am, I also put the finishing touches to another draft and scheduled it for the Sunday piece as well.
Yes, technically I appear to have missed a day on Saturday. For now, I prefer to count my consecutive days in terms of separated by my night-time sleep. Therefore, that number as it stands today is still 10.
That near-mishap of missing a day led to the first time I tried using the scheduled publishing feature that Substack has. Since then, I started to use that feature more. Today alone, I have scheduled enough to give me 2 days worth of post buffer. I have turned the near-miss into motivation to write and edit more enough for posts to last for more than 24 hours ahead. So I guess, the number of posts may be 10 for now. But the number of scheduled posts is now at 3 and rising.
Overly Sanitize and Dummy-Proof
The other benefit of that near-miss is that I observed a defiant response in me was triggerd. I wrote more and looked harder to prevent that from happening again. Hence, the scheduled posts and writing extra to provide buffer.
Which leads me to the lecture I feel is appropriate for today’s unpredictable world. In today’s world of six-sigma practices, and sporadic rises in pandemic cases, it’s tempting to really knuckle down and dig deep into sanitizing and dummy-proofing the world. This zeal to protect our downsides, it can be a bit overboard.
But if you dummy-proof the process, you only get dummies to work there,
— Reed Hastings
If we go overboard on the sanitizing and dummy-proofing, when the real, unforeseen danger truly breaks out, we no longer have the immunity to deal with it. No immunity because of the lack of exposure and practice to the occasional dangers. That makes us less resilient and more fragile to the unpredictable crises yet to come.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against sensible protection and prevention. Protection and prevention are a good thing. But there’s such a thing as too much of a good thing. So, let us have the good sense to purposely court low-level danger and near-misses so they may keep us on our toes.