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Word rafting

August 23, 2020

I had a crazy idea in the morning two months ago. I was drinking a lot the night before, and that usually causes waking up earlier and with some unusual ideas. I've decided to start an online writing group.

How it all got started

This idea didn't come out of the blue. It was brewing for months. I was very pumped up about writing, so I wanted to find people that share my passion for it. That would push me to become more serious about writing. I would also meet people that share the same interests. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any writing communities that I would want to join.

I decided that I should try to build a small community of writers. If I have this problem and can't find anything that solves it, I bet there are other people with the same problem.

So I decided to reach out to Nick and ask him what he thinks about my idea. He wanted to know more about it. It looked like my idea had legs. That's when I've decided to think more about it and what I would like a group to look like. So I've decided to put a document together that described it better.

The document is still there, describing the rules of our little group. We follow what's written there, and this has produced the highest streak of articles I've ever had. This is the eighth article in a row that I've published.

The rafting struggle

Sometimes it is tough to put the article out. Since there is a hard limit to publish it every Monday at 8 AM UTC, we all publish on Sunday evening. We all wait for the last second to publish. It makes sense sometimes to me, since I want to spend as much time as possible on editing and polishing it up.

This doesn't happen with all my articles. I sometimes "can't find the time" [1] for writing the articles until Sunday. That's when I either get my shit together and write that article or polish up an old draft that collects dust.

Sometimes I even do a trick that requires the least amount of effort. I publish a book summary. I keep notes for most of the books that I read, so this doesn't take a lot of time. I polish my notes a bit and publish it. I'm not very proud of that. Feels like cheating.

I've almost fallen off a word raft two weeks ago and lost access to the group forever. I was sick and didn't want to do anything on a Sunday. But I had to publish an article [2] since I didn't publish anything that week. I'm glad I've survived that and learned something from it. Don't be lazy, waiting for the last second to publish your articles. (The previous sentence was written by past me on Friday in a first draft. This article was published on Sunday evening. I guess I haven't learned anything after all, other than past me sometimes being too strict. Relax man, I had a life to live.)

Reflections on rafting

Out of these eight articles that I've written, I'm happy with some, less with others, but I learn a new thing with each one. Every article is like a small MVP or an experiment. It's like building side projects, on a smaller scale. With every article, I bet that people are going to find this interesting. I learn from that experience.

I feel closer to Michael and Nick than to other people I've met online and real-life acquaintances. I consider them friends since we are in the same struggle. That connects us. We support each other and inspire each other to become better. Nick has put it best: "It's the positive peer pressure." Smokers pressure you to light one, drinkers pressure you to drink one, we pressure you to publish one.

Lessons learned

The biggest lesson learned is realizing the power of a small group dedicated to the same goals. There are only three of us. The rules are simple. The goal is shared, and this is powerful.

Another lesson is taking action. I've spent countless hours looking for the perfect writing community. Nothing seemed right to me. Instead of that, I could've made a little effort. I showed a small initiative by messaging Nick and Michael on Twitter, and it paid off. We all expect someone else to take action and do something. It pays off to take some action.

I hope I've pushed you a little to consider starting your own group around your interests. It's a great way to make new friends and push yourself to improve.

Sorry about another Sunday evening article.

  1. Very common excuse when something is not a priority.

  2. That was the one about the Apple watch.

@shime_sh Hrvoje Šimić
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