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200 Words a Day

How I found 200WAD 2020-12-14 17:43:00

I'm grateful that 200WAD is closing in the winter. If it were warm and sunny I would feel less sentimental. This is because this cold, this snow, and these early nights take me back to my feelings at the close of 2018, which had been for me a bad year.

I carried a list of ambitions on my sleeve, but had no vision of how to reach these destinations. People in my life were supportive and never challenged me to reflect on the fact that I actually had no plan. On the rare occasion  someone would challenge me, I'd cast them off as haters, spawning internal dialogues about how one day I'd show them. I'd make something great and when they came to me to acknowledge me, I wouldn't stick it in their faces like I really felt like doing. Instead I would just smile smug and act like I never had been salty.

What did I want back then? Well I looked up to tech-related entrepreneurs who created respected companies and got to decide the course of their lives. People who loved their work. People like David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH) of Basecamp and Matt Mullenweg of Automattic/Wordpress. Admirers of such people and values are often on a forum called HackerNews, which is a discussion-heavy forum centered around technology/economics/business/sociological/political/psychological/health/lifestyle. HN provides a unique intersection crossing libertarian, conservative, and liberal thinkers that's hard to find in today's web. The thing that unifies them is an interest in technology and design and a belief that technology and design are the keys to improving nearly all of our problems.

Back in 2018 I found going on there educational. I needed to soak in everything they knew. Now I can see what I was actually doing. I was feeding my dream. I might have had no business, might've not been a writer but while I was on there reading discussions had by the people who did have what I wanted, I felt like I was a part of them. Not much different than wanting to be around the cool circle of guys in the lunchroom in high school.

Because it was December I felt like I had more permission to goof off. But I was a hustler I told myself. I wasn't going to goof off. Sure I might not be programming or designing or writing, but I was going to hustle another way. I was going to read HackerNews. I was at my girlfriend's house. We spent a lot of December there. And I spent a lot of time on HackerNews, feeding my dream. And one day I saw a link about writing 200 words a day. I clicked on it. And I saw Basile Samel writing daily. I saw others writing with him. And I found someone named Tim Subiaco writing a novella on there in public. I read through all his existing posts in one sitting. I saw myself being able to write my own fiction on there. That first night before the streak timer closed, I posted my debut. And when the next day came I posted my second. And then the third. Each day I was filled with excitement to continue posting. I imagined that if I just did that for a couple months I'd have a collection of short stories that I'd finally be able to share.

Fast forward to now that's not what happened. I got a whole lot of other things from my experience writing on 200WAD, and all of the greatest things were those I could've never have expected or even imagined. Even though I didn't get what I wanted when signing up, I was taught lessons that now play a first-class-citizen role to my life philosophy. The power of community. The power of relationships. The serenity of clarity through deep, honest reflection. 

I signed up thinking 200WAD would be a tool to help me become the writer waiting inside me. What I got was the opportunity to explore why I even had such a conviction. 


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200 Words a Day

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