I nuked today's post (lol)
Instead, here's a juicy question I'm starting to explore
Today's been the hardest day of daily publishing yet. It’s felt like trudging through a thick swamp on a foggy day. Getting coherent words onto the page has been slow and tedious, and I couldn’t really tell where they were headed anyway.
I did manage to get about 600+ words written earlier, and I've been trying to polish them throughout the afternoon. But re-reading it all just now, it felt empty and joyless and forced, and I don’t wanna subject anyone to that. So I'm shelving that piece, and just winging it lol.
I've been thinking a lot lately about how most of my past work feels cringe to me. I look at older pieces I've published, and I constantly find things I wish I'd said differently, or that I no longer agree with. It sounds silly, but it bugs me these media artifacts I leave in the world don't change and evolve along with me. It feels uncomfortable to have work out in the world that’s not a good representation of the person I’ve become, or the person I'm becoming.
Part of me just wants to sweep this old writing under the rug. Pretend it doesn't exist. Move on. But another part of me is like, "hold on, what if this is an opportunity?"
So the question I'm now pondering is, what would it look like to be in conversation with my past work? Or better yet, what would it look like if all of my work, including new stuff I publish, wasn't viewed as a static artifact, but as part of a larger ongoing conversation? How could I create a format that embraces and showcases my evolution as a human?
Somewhere in this 100 day project, perhaps even tomorrow, I'm going to try that. Dig up one of my posts that feels off to me, and see if I can riff on it, and point to the places where my thinking has evolved. Personally, I know I’d love to read writing from people who are updating their beliefs in real time, instead of just doubling down on the old ones. That feels alive to me, and like exciting territory to explore as a writer.
My question for all of you Substack homies is, do you know of anyone who's doing this? Who has found a way to make their work an ongoing conversation where the pieces build on each other and evolve? Would love some examples to take inspiration from!
Rob's Daily Invitation
Last year I started keeping track of all my life and business experiments in a handy Notion dashboard. This whole "turn your work into a conversation" thing feels like it's bound to become one of those experiments. I don't know what'll happen with this, but I expect to learn a lot.
In January, a few coaching clients told me they liked my fancy dashboard, and that I should turn it into a template that other people could use. After all, the biggest thing I help my clients do is run little experiments with their own businesses and creative work. It's the best way I know for consciously evolving our sense of self and what we're capable of.
Anyhow, The template is called The Experimentalist, and you can grab it at the link below. It's pretty rad.
This is brilliant, Rob. I have thousands of little tidbits that I've written and sent out to the folks in my community over the years, and my writing has been slowing down. This gives me great inspiration to revisit and update my thinking and relationship on those things. Incredible idea! Thank you!!!
It’s a neat idea Rob and is exactly what I did for my closing piece for Foster season 2. I riffed on a concept I wrote about in an email to my now wife back in 2000. Quoted myself and everything. It’s here: https://camscampbell.com/emotion-city/