The Learning Stops When the Writing Stops

April 27, 2015

It's really easy to give or listen to advice. I've given plenty of mostly unqualified advice to people who didn't really ask for it most of the time. I've read a lot of advice and taken really useful things from it- I'm a good chunk through a book1 that would qualify as just that right now. I have a drive to learn about great new ways to do things and a too healthy fixation on finding the perfect set of tools to help me and everyone around me do things the right way from now on.

Coming off of a week of vacation and stepping back, it's funny to reflect on all the lessons and habits I find the most valuable in my life and in my career to this point were things I read or was told about or even talked about myself ad nauseum, but didn't really absorb until I really tried it myself instead of talking about it or researching 10 different tools to find the perfect one to do it.

Recently at Haven we announced our arrival to the wider world2. I'm immensely proud of what my team and our whole company have accomplished so far, but I know how much more we need to do and how much better it can be as we try new things, find ways to test our results, and improve upon them. I want our company and products to be better, and most of all I want to be better, so I am going to commit to doing more things both professionally and personally with the bare minimum of prerequisites, because looking back that's how I learned and discovered most effectively- by doing.

I'm also going to commit to make time to write about my experiments whenever possible, because writing is something I miss, and because I need to take my own medicine. I talk a lot about how writing is thinking but as you can see by my post history I'm either not thinking much or I'm doing it in private. I am to improve upon that as much as I can. Always bet on text.

I have some ideas. I may write a series3 about my ongoing experiments in product management coming from developer world. I may write about the classic [movie][4] I just watched for the first time tonight. I might write about the [book][5] I read on vacation that should be a movie. I might write a super technical post about code that should probably be a question and answer on [stackoverflow][6]. I may write a review of a grape Mr. Misty4 12 years after I said I would. But, I am setting a goal to write weekly, and I am going to challenge my inner critic to lay off a bit before obsessing over each thing I write, because the result of thinking more about what would be a good enough post to write vs. just writing so far is that I just stop writing publicly. I hope if I fall short whatever peanut gallery exists finds ways to remind me to do what I said I'd do. As previous posts to this site now show in the footnotes, future me will probably chastise current me regardless.

Coach Sellers used to say "the learning stops when the writing stops." I've learned a whole lot without writing about it afterwards, but I feel like had I done so I would consider those ideas more carefully and have more clarity and understanding around them. I hope in the process to throw off some artifact that is useful or at least makes someone else crack a smile, but otherwise I am going to write to think, and to hopefully learn. An object in motion stays in motion.

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  1. About 60% of the way through I'm finding some of the thinking to be really useful and a lot of the specific content to be dated and very much "do what I did to get rich!" seminar kinds of stuff. Still worth the read so far.

  2. Or at least the wider Indianapolis metropolitan area.

  3. Inspired by series from Brent Simmons and David Smith among others, which I enjoyed even without knowing much about the surrounding material [4]: [5]: [6]: 4: I think a Mr. Misty is called an Arctic Rush or something now. Some people are unjustifiably mad about Pluto not being a planet, I am unjustifiably mad about this.