When I write something into Google+ or Twitter, the response is instant (especially in Google+). I get feedback. I get ideas. I get chatter. I get conversation.
When I write something for a blog post, I get a response over the course of the day. I hear people’s thoughtful responses. I hear people echoing my thoughts. I hear people disagreeing.
When I write for the long haul, like a book, there’s no feedback. There’s me. It’s the loneliness of the long distance runner. It’s me and the page. It’s me and the project. It’s me and trying to get that word count up.
What’s the difference?
We Are Quite Often Feedback Driven
With me, personally, it’s praise. I’m addicted to praise. I want someone to say that I’m clever, that I’ve helped them, that what I’ve said makes so much sense and they can’t believe they didn’t see it that way. Sometimes, in the case of using Google+ or Twitter, I might be temporarily lonely, or feeling invisible, and I just want the response. I want to see my words bounce off someone, see them respond back, and get that “Sawubona” feeling.
But feedback isn’t the only thing that matters.
Writing For the Long Haul
I’m learning about Crossfit (a kind of physical fitness regimen), and in so doing, I’m being retrained to do things I felt that I already knew how to do, but clearly don’t. For instance, I’m learning the proper way to squat, the proper way to press a barbell over my head, the best way to do a sit-up, and things like this. The results are nowhere near immediate. You can’t touch my arm or chest or whatever and say, “Whoa. You are working out!” But, if all goes well, in a handful of months, you’ll see me at some event and the changes will be apparent. (Note: I’m doing this for myself, not so that you’ll notice such at an event, but you get the point.)
Writing for the long haul is this way. I’m currently working on a few book projects at the same time. Luckily, Julien Smith has pretty much seized control (in the best way) of one of them, and I’m enjoying watching his passion for the project grow. For our next book together, Julien and me, I have a growing passion for the subject matter. For my other-other book (not yet announced), I’m going to do something I’ve never done before, and turn a book manuscript in within the span of about six weeks. The challenge is exciting, plus the work will be really good for me, as I’m passionate about the material. I’ve put zero words to paper for book 2 or 3 yet. (Thankfully, book 1 is pretty much in the can, and Julien owns the edits). Why? Because it’s so much easier to stay addicted to feedback.
A Diet of Sorts
Instead, when thinking about the long haul in writing, in life, in business, in everything, you’ve got to build a whole different kind of experience into it for yourself. You’ve got to realize that this is the good stuff, the broccoli, the dark leafy greens, the vitamins, the macro and micro nutrients of your life. The long haul in business, in writing, in fitness, in whatever, is the stuff that will give you something sustainable and something useful.
We can’t live on candy alone, it turns out.
How’s your diet going? How’s that feedback feeling going? How much time do you sacrifice to that hunger for instant feedback, instead of investing that same time into the deeper benefits of the long haul? Just curious.