For several months now, buried in my growing list of blog post ideas has been a single line: “ruthlessly prioritize”. If I remember correctly it’s a snippet of something Mark Pincus once said. While only a line long, somewhere in my brain it’s associated with an entire outline of a blog post.
That blog post would have talked about how there are, at any time in anyone’s life, a nearly infinite list of things that could be done, but time to do only a few. It would have concluded with a poignant reminder that everything we do is a choice, and it’s important to consciously choose to do the things most important to us.
Then I read Edmond Lau’s blog post and saw exactly what I wanted to write laid out before me.
It many ways, it would be easy to throw my hands up and never write that blog post. But after thinking about it for a while, I’m more motivated than ever to write down my ideas.
Initially, knowing someone else has written almost exactly what I wanted to write is painful. But there was going to be a blog post out there similar to mine whether I knew it or not. No writer expects everything (or possibly anything) they write to be completely original. So really, confirmation of such a basic reality of writing shouldn’t change anything.
In fact, there’s a reward to reading someone else’s opinion on anything you’ve thought deeply about, even if you haven’t yet published your thoughts, even if you haven’t yet published your thoughts. Having put your own thought into a topic, it’s much more rewarding to read what others have to say.
For me though, the most exciting thought was how I can improve my own blog post based on what I’ve read. I get to examine someone else’s attempt to write about the same topic, and learn from their work. I can focus on the areas I think they missed, or word things in a different way to avoid specific counter-arguments. Every writer puts their own personal touch into their writing; focusing on the differences is better than focusing on the similarities.
So at the end of the day there’s no doubt: I’ll be writing that blog post and many others. And whatever I write will be my own, even if someone else has written about it too.