Half Man Half Noodle

Hidden in clear sight

The point of writing every day for 100 days was to become a better writer. Progress was easy at the beginning, it was fresh and I was making so many beginner errors that even a monkey could have given constructive advice. Then I hit a wall and realised I was under the false impression that simply getting into the habit of writing would weed out bad habits. This is idiotic, in the same way that thinking staying in a bad relationship will fix itself eventually, without putting in the work to fix the issues at hand. Repeating the same practice doesn’t make you better, unless you’re being conscious about what areas you’re trying to develop.

If I take up baking and decide to bake the same sourdough loaf every day by following the same recipe, I will reach the peak of my sourdough career within a matter of days. If I decide to try alternative recipes, new methods, experimental timings alongside upgrading my equipment and the quality of ingredients I will become a better baker. At this point, I can then decide if my original sourdough was best. This is solely within the realm of bread, I haven’t even ventured into the territory of cakes, pastries and biscuits! This isn’t about being diverse though because those who are the best in their field are specific. More-so it’s about finding elements within your specific area of interest that need development.

Have you reached the stage where you’re treading water? It’s common to fool yourself into thinking you’re making progress because you’re still doing it or that you can’t get better because of the length of time you’ve been doing it. It’s impossible that you can’t get better in some way, even Tiger Woods can improve (if even with his infidelity.)

Starting now, you can pick an area where you’re struggling and Google how to improve. I started running during COVID lockdown and knew next to nothing about it. For the longest time I inhaled a coffee, laced up my tired looking running shoes, flew through a series of stretches I learnt from youtube and set out to run further than the day before. Progress will happen with this method for a while but once the beginner gains wear off you hit the wall. I put it down to poor nutrition, inadequate rest, not being a natural runner and the usual genetic factors that assist in justifying physical weakness. After I got over myself, I researched “How to improve running distance”, “Running programs”, “Running techniques”, “How to be a better runner”, “Run further” and every mutation of these phrases that I could think of. This teleported me into the realm of professional runners, where they debunked myths, rookie errors and revealed the mistakes that they made. Am I Mo Farah? No, but I’m running twice the distance I was before. This should be the very reason we read books and ask for advice from people who know more than we do, so that we can also get better.

As for writing, I wanted to phase out using the words “just”, “thing”, “very” and “some”. This has been my focus today and going forward. If nothing else, I will improve on this one area today. One day at a time.

How can you improve today?