Inside Baseball: Three Principles Guiding the Future of Free Refills (Part I)

From One More Thing Before We Dive In:

I could aim to make Free Refills play an essential part in supporting the advancement of my career …

If the work I've done on Free Refills has failed to support the advancement of my career or has done so inadequately, then what do I need to do to change it? Over the next three days, I'll present three principles that, taken together, should make a substantial difference.

I. The work has to matter long-term.

The writing has to have lasting value. There is no point in doing all this work if the ultimate outcome is that these pieces are, in the worst possible sense, just blogposts: merely writings about whatever was on my mind on a given day, losing more and more value as they recede from the present. Life is surely too short to waste my time doing work like that--nor to ask you to read it.

If the pieces are to have lasting value, then I need to conceptualize them as such from the very get-go. It's okay if occasionally something ephemeral grabs my attention, but I can no longer allow it to be a habit.

So what's the key to producing writing of lasting value? I am coming to believe that the only work that ends up mattering for long is long-form writing, especially books.

Therefore I need to figure out how to make everything that goes up on Free Refills either function as part of a greater whole--as something that can be assembled into part of a book or at least a long-form essay--or else contributes directly to that goal: pieces could offer commentary, request help, express uncertainty, or describe something I am wrestling with. All my daily work needs to function within these contexts.

It's not entirely obvious to me yet how to organize my time to make it so. Do I work on multiple projects at the same time? (Given how my brain works, the answer is by necessity likely to be yes.) How do I organize various projects on the site? (I actually have some good ideas about this question.) How do I best change my approach to the daily work to achieve all this? (My best answer: play with it. Keep what works, discard the rest.)

This change in approach and mindset should on its own have a major impact on the long-term value of the writing.

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