me: [to myself] fuck you, i won't do what you tell me!!
Hey Visa, I spent 15 mins reading through this in the morning and felt compelled to leave a note to say that I've been down the same path (except with a smaller audience) and the thing that has been most helpful is, as inane as it sounds, to keep to a publishing schedule (for me it's once a week).
This forces me to be heads-down writing at least a portion of each week, leaving me too busy to think about "how will my writing reshape reality?" and, best of all, it self-corrects for the "joy of writing" because if what I'm writing gets tedious, I shelf it and go write something else, which I think is a brilliant mechanism for accounting for how I'm feeling in THIS particular week. What I'm frustrated about, what I'm thankful for, etc. in THIS week. And as you said, that's when the good stuff comes.
Oh and of course, over the years, I've also learned to successfully apply about 80 percent of the time the mentality that "Bro, forget about that, and just write about what you think is exciting, interesting, compelling, and share that with the people you most eagerly want to reach."
I don't know if this is applicable to you or not, since you seem to be aiming for something higher. You think of your forthcoming posts as "essays," while I think of everything I'm publishing merely as "posts." Perhaps that requires a greater level of commitment and accountability. I'm not sure about this. But when I think of myself as writing essays, I too "flinch, squint, doubt." Posts? That's the relaxed bro who is spinning some good tunes in the corner of the park to a small audience. I like that guy more.
There’s something meta here about repetition and trying to see things in a fresh light. I read your book Introspect twice and see a lot of the same themes being talked about here. It’s cool to see you do “the Introspect” in real time with this piece. Thanks Visa! The ideas from your book have been a super helpful.
That Kenny Werner chord story reminds me of a classic Herbie Hancock anecdote.
He was playing with Miles Davis, and played the wrong chord on the piano. Miles pauses... then plays a series of notes on his trumpet that make Herbie's 'wrong' chord sound 'right'.
"What I realize now is that Miles didn’t hear it as a mistake. He heard it as something that happened. As an event. And so that was part of the reality of what was happening at that moment. And he dealt with it…. Since he didn’t hear it as a mistake, he thought it was his responsibility to find something that fit."
Resonate a lot with this, and could respond to a bunch of things, but I’ll just say this. I’m glad–proud even? “glad” feels to weak a word—that you’ve made such big steps in your life that you’re now on an incorruptible path.
You’re humble and self-aware enough to not get dragged down into (your own) BS for long. And I think writing about THAT, like you’re doing here, now, IS the “big work” you’re already doing. Not the planned essays (even though you may write them at some point). You’re already there, doing the glorious thing.
To grab one of my own talking points: You living your life in front of others is the legacy you leave.
Anyway, my 2cts. Thanks for being here!