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The Productive Writer

Jordan Harrod
Jordan Harrod
2 min read

Happy Friday!

While cleaning out my office yesterday, I happened across a copy of The Productive Writer: in Graduate School and Beyond by Jan Allen. (💲) I'd totally forgotten that I had this book - I recieved a free copy while I was at Cornell, and it somehow survived both moving from Ithaca to Cambridge and moving three times during graduate school.

Rediscovering this book felt oddly timely, as I've increasingly struggled with writing over the past several years. In middle and high school, I actively sought out creative writing opportunties, but at some point in college, writing became not only a chore but an active source of anxiety.

Lately, I've been at a bit of a loss for words in a slightly different way. Not due to anxiety about writing something that meets my perfectionist standards on the first try, but in the sense that when I approach the page, whether it be a digital screen or a physical notebook, I reach into the parts of my mind where I normally store my ideas and curiosities, and I find nothing. In fact, it's taken me about two days to write this newsletter, because for most of that time, I didn't feel that I had anything to write.

This is likely partially due to my mental health - managing my depression has been more challenging over the past few months than usual - but also due to a lack of clear inspiration. Abstract ideas often float through my head, but the connections disappear as soon as I try to put them down onto a page. I'm hoping that building a knowledge management system over the next few months will help (I'll be taking Tiago Forte's Building a Second Brain course), but I also know that ideas need time to become more concrete, so I'm trying to be patient with the process.

Do you struggle with writing? Have you found ways to help yourself get ideas onto the page? I'd love to hear your experiences - you can always ping me on Twitter or shoot me an email.

P.S. - Thanks to everyone who emailed me with thoughts about an AI Bill of Rights! I've been a bit overwhelmed by emails over the past few weeks, but I'm hoping to follow-up on your ideas next week. ❤️


☀️ This Week's Snippets

📖 Reading: The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab (💲) - I've been obsessed with V. E. Schwab's books ever since I discovered the Darker Shade of Magic series a few years ago, and am slowly making my way through reading all 20+ books she's written. I think this is book #14?

💻 Writing: During Writers' Hours via the London Writers' Salon -  I've been trying to get back into the daily habit of writing with some accountability, and the Writers' Hours hosted by the London Writers' Salon has been incredibly helpful. They have four sessions every weekday and it's totally free, so if you're also looking for writing accountability, check them out!

🧠 Quote of the Week:

“Your influences are all worth sharing because they clue people in to who you are and what you do—sometimes even more than your own work.”

― from Show Your Work by Austin Kleon, resurfaced via Readwise.


➡️ This Week in Content

What Are Foundation Models? | YouTube/Nebula

Have a great weekend!

-J