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Shipping & Writing (Reading Notes 7.14.18)

Resource: Fear of shipping


Shipping is risky, but so is not shipping.

When we ship, we risk being misunderstood. When we fail to ship, we risk becoming stagnant and we risk never receiving the kind of feedback that can help us achieve mastery.

Everyone feels fear. The ones who ship “feel the fear and do it anyway.” The question of shipping is not “how do I eliminate my fear?” It’s “how do I channel it in a constructive way?”


“Every time you raise your hand, send an email, launch a product or make a suggestion, you’re exposing yourself to criticism. Not just criticism, but the negative consequences that come with wasting money, annoying someone in power or making a fool of yourself.”

“In a long distance race, everyone gets tired. The winner is the runner who figures out where to put the tired, figures out how to store it away until after the race is over. Sure, he’s tired. Everyone is. That’s not the point. The point is to run. Same thing is true for shipping, I think. Everyone is afraid. Where do you put the fear?”

Resource: 10 Writing Tips from Legendary Writing Teacher William Zinsser


I think my favorite piece of advice here was the part about realizing that nothing we write will ever be definitive. When you’re covering a topic, you have to bite off the part you have time to chew. You’ll always leave something unsaid.


1. Don’t make lazy word choices: “You’ll never make your mark as a writer unless you develop a respect for words and a curiosity about their shades of meaning that is almost obsessive. The English language is rich in strong and supple words. Take the time to root around and find the ones you want.”

3. Writing is hard work: “A clear sentence is no accident. Very few sentences come out right the first time, or even the third time. Remember this in moments of despair. If you find that writing is hard, it’s because it is hard.”

“Believe in your own identity and your own opinions. Writing is an act of ego, and you might as well admit it.”
7. Study the masters but also your contemporaries: “Writing is learned by imitation. If anyone asked me how I learned to write, I’d say I learned by reading the men and women who were doing the kind of writing I wanted to do and trying to figure out how they did it.”

10. And don’t ever believe you are going to write anything definitive: “Decide what corner of your subject you’re going to bite off, and be content to cover it well and stop.”

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