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On Publishing Our Work

On Publishing our Work

I started my writing session today curious about what I’d write. Doubt kept surfacing. Would I find something meaningful to write about?

I went through my old notes searching for post topics. I didn’t feel excited about the ideas though. I thought, do I even need an idea? Can I start writing something, see where it takes me then press the publish button?

Of course I can. And I should. Publishing work is a critical part of the writing process.

Live With Failure

Publishing our writing is a lesson in learning to live with failure.

We shouldn’t pretend we don’t fail. Sometimes we start a thought and forget what we wanted to say. We trip while walking. Make jokes that leave the room silent. These are common human experiences.

But unfortunately, a lot of times these small failures may be followed by prolonged shame. I think it’s because we single ourselves out.

I used to tell myself “I’m clumsy” because I’d spill stuff. Though in retrospect, it was very rare that I’d spill anything. But the negativity surrounding labels like “clumsy” and “idiotic” doesn’t help. It only makes the blows that much more hurtful.

Sometimes our writing is misunderstood. Or ignored. Or sometimes we put something out that we later regret. That’s part of the process.

We’re allowed to change our minds. In fact, changing our minds is a beautiful thing. It symbolizes our continual evolution (ideally we’re changing our minds based on sound information).

All Work Is “Becoming”

In our digital world, everything is a work-in-progress. Every piece we put out into the world is in a state of “becoming”. Like the apps that we use every day. They’re constantly being updated. In a sense, we’re perpetual newbies. And we’re okay with that. We look forward to the updates because they make the apps better and faster.

We’re becoming more forgiving of our work and the work of others. And for good reason. It’s very easy and efficient to make updates to the work we publish. We should embrace this.

Now I’m not saying we should publish work that is half-assed. Definitely not. We should be proud of the work we put out. But, let’s not strive for perfection.

Let’s take our best shot and be proud of it. This way we can become more comfortable showing up and putting work out there. And let’s embrace making tweaks after the fact. It’s okay to realize something later. Let’s not be so hard on ourselves. Worst case scenario, we learned something in the process.

This post is an ode to myself. A promise to myself to publish daily. Start a piece even when I’m not sure where it’ll lead. Stumble over the words all the way to the finish line.

Published 15 Nov 2016

Husam Machlovi

Product Strategy & Design