Identity, using what you've got and the never-ending to-read pile

Hey there,

Wow, I actually have subscribers now! Part of me was wondering if it would be just me writing to myself, which would have made it easy to just slink away and pretend I didn’t say that I’d write a weekly(ish) newsletter. So thank you for coming along for this experiment and keeping me accountable.

Speaking of accountability, I’ve been very gentle with setting goals for myself for the past couple of years - I’ve been unintentionally trying to optimise for curiousity, not productivity and it’s mostly worked out for me pretty well. I’m now trying to be a little more intentional with this and approach it in a slightly more organised way. I’ve been thinking how quickly new habits become part of my identity - for example, I started baking sourdough a few months ago just to try it out. Now I consider myself a person who bakes bread (and other stuff) every week, this is who I am now. Maybe it won’t be who I am in another few months time, but now it’s part of my identity and therefore not something I’ll let go of easily.

So I’m trying to do this on purpose, and start from the identity I’d like to explore and try different things to support that. I’m starting from the premise that this is what I already am, I just haven’t figured out the how yet. Here’s what I’m exploring over the next two months:

  1. I am a writer (of weekly newsletters, and maybe other stuff too)
  2. I am someone who takes their family camping (and enjoys it)
  3. I am an artist who draws every day (even if it’s just a scribble)

It doesn’t sound like much of a shift, but let me tell you it’s quite terrifying to publicly write something like “I am a writer” when I have no real basis for this statement. But on the other hand it’s freeing to start from that assumption and get down to making it shine through. Thank you for being part of this process!

I've been creating

I've been consuming

  1. Treat your to-read pile like a river
    this means treating your "to read" pile like a river (a stream that flows past you, and from which you pluck a few choice items, here and there) instead of a bucket (which demands that you empty it). This is also how I treat social media streams - trying to consume it all is impossible.

  2. Artist vlogs on YouTube. It's interesting to see how different artists work, and I've found it nice to have on in the background whilst drawing - kind of like you're sketching with a friend. I'm enjoying Leigh Ellexson and Furry Little Peach so far, let me know if you have any faves I should check out.

  3. Dense Discovery is my favourite email newsletter, having been a fan of it since it was The Modern Desk and the writer, Kai, was publishing a magazine called Offscreen. There's always interesting links for me to add to my reading list, and I always enjoy Kai's opinionated intros.