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Post 2, Writing

From September 7, 2022, posted here on February 12, 2023

I am back for more, two posts (3 days spending some time writing) does not make a writer, but I can’t become a writer if I don’t start somewhere.

I posted the first in this series as a link on the No Agenda Social Mastodon instance (follow me on the fediverse @Salyer@noagendasocial.com  – this is not an email address!), and was very excited to get some feedback and a lot of support! I mentioned that I should have probably mentioned in my first post that the No Agenda “community” is part of my inspiration in learning and working towards being a better writer. The hosts John C Dvorak (@Johncdvorak@noagendasocial.com) and Adam Currey (@adam@noagendasocial.com), as well as so many producers on the No Agenda fediverse are a part of my inspiration. I will learn a lot and will hear some well thought out discussions about a plethora of topics, while being entertained!

So onto the the next installment of my work through of Jordan Peterson’s essay on essays. I am working through the section of his entitled: “A note on use of time”. Peterson’s ideas on time are simple and straight forward. In my mind, what sticks out is that  of writing daily, “your mind will rebel”, and don’t wait for a “big chunk of time”.

Although I think Peterson’s idea of a “big chunk of time” and mine are very different, with mine being a lot smaller.

Simple enough, straight forward, but I know it is not easy. How do I know that?

I have “started the journey to write regularly” or even “daily” more times than I can count over the years.

I have recently discovered something that may help in this regard.

Enter  Andrew Huberman.

I don’t know how I discovered this guy, but I would guess it was from someone posting on No Agenda Social. I have watched a few videos of him and what he talks about really resonates with me. I already posted about the idea I am going to introduce at: Where I am starting of probably I should say re-starting

It is a short post, but you really don’t need to go there because I will basically include it here.

Huberman talks about how to use dopamine in a deliberate way. Dopamine is already being used to reinforce the bad habits in my life. Let’s use it to help form the good ones!

If I can get the Dopamine system to trigger with effort, then that effort would be pleasurable and reinforced and will help build the habit, in this case the habit of writing daily. Huberman loosely says in the video:

In the moments of the most intense friction, tell yourself this is very painful and it will evoke an increase in dopamine release later. But you also have to tell yourself that in that moment you are doing it by choice and you’re doing it because you love it, you want it to feel better you want it to feel even pleasurable.

This makes so much sense to me, and I have used this to my betterment in the past. An easy example was when I played water polo. I loved playing water polo, I was pretty good at water polo, and was lucky enough to have some great coaches and be on some great teams. I got a lot of Dopamine payoffs with winning tournaments, awards and even championships at a couple of different levels. But I loved practice. The idea of missing a practice was not even an option. Even when I got a little older and I was screwing my life up with addiction (I didn’t realize it at the time), I would still go train to be ready to practice water polo. I even showed up for practices that I was not invited, to practice water polo (a story for another time). My point being, I didn’t know it, but I used the dopamine system then.

When you hear stories of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant (and others!) working harder and longer than anyone else, I think now it is because they built up their dopamine system for the “motivation” to out work everyone else.

So now I have a basic structure to start with my desire to learn to write better, well, and more.

Step one, write everyday.

But more importantly, as I am sitting down to write, know:

1) I will have some rebel mind antics to work through, and as I am doing that,

2) I can remind myself: this is going to be very painful and it will evoke an increase in dopamine release later. But I am doing it by choice and I am doing it because I love it, I want it to feel better and I want it to feel even pleasurable to write.

How well will this work? Stay tuned.

P.S. I have mentioned No Agenda a lot, it is a podcast, and more! You can find out about it at: noagendashow.net (Consider this a punch in the mouth, a metaphorical insider’s way to introduce the show).


From September 5, 2022, posted here on February 12, 2023

So since High School, some 40+ years ago, I have thought about being a writer. Since then, the thought has come and gone, mostly gone. In High School, I wrote poems. My English teachers and of all people my coach (he was not an ordinary coach) encouraged the writing and would read everything I wrote and was full of encouragement and support… I am sure the poems stunk, but I did not know that at the time. But, once I left High School, the writing stopped. I was an English major for a time, because of my love of reading and I was lucky enough to have great English teachers in High School to facilitate that love. But it was hard, and it stopped… I dropped out (actually to be honest, I failed out of college) and although the reading continued for a while, it stopped.

Life has had it’s ups and downs, just like anyone’s. I thought I was special. Not that way! I thought my lot was worst than everyone else’s, how arrogant.

Not really the point for today. I am soon to be 60 years old, and the idea of writing has pulled at my shirt tail again. And then I have come across Jordan Peterson and his thoughts and encouragement to write. So I am going to start.


Well here.

With what?

JP’s Writing Guide…

I have seen it before, and I was watching a short video with him and a guest talking about the importance of writing, so I did what you do in 2022 – I search online: ” jordan peterson how to learn to write”.

A quick aside, I did not google it, google is evil and although I use some of their products I am working (slowly) on getting off of the google products, so for search I use https://presearch.com/ .

I came across an essay (appropriate), some videos, and his word doc on writing an essay. For ease, click here for the doc.

The idea came to me, thus this long drawn out introduction, to actually work through the document to begin my writing efforts. The goal is really two fold (actually 3): 1, Learn to write well. 2, To be able to help teach my kids the importance of writing well, as well as how to write well. 3, To document the process that I am taking to help me keep on track.

So, this is a long way in to begin, but I will anyway with some of my highlights from the essay… not sure how far I will get, but I am sure this will be a multi post process. I know you are thinking , Yea! lol!  Most of the beginning will be me just cutting and pasting important parts of Mr. Peterson’s doc.


What is an essay?

An essay is a relatively short piece of writing on a particular topic.  However, the word essay also means attempt or try. An essay is, therefore, a short piece written by someone attempting to explore a topic or answer a question.

Why bother writing an essay?

The primary reason to write an essay is so that the writer can formulate and organize an informed, coherent and sophisticated set of ideas about something important.

… if you want to have a life characterized by competence, productivity, security, originality and engagement …, you need to think carefully about important issues. There is no better way to do so than to write. This is because writing extends your memory, facilitates editing and clarifies your thinking. 

… the person who can formulate and communicate the best argument almost always wins.

If you learn to write and to edit, you will also be able to tell the difference between good ideas, intelligently presented, and bad ideas put forth by murky and unskilled thinkers…. Then you can be properly influenced by profound and solid ideas instead of falling prey to foolish fads and whims and ideologies, which can range in their danger from trivial to mortal.

…  it is useful to note that your mind is organized verbally, at the highest and most abstract levels….  This also means that you will be healthier, mentally and physically,…

Don’t ever underestimate the power of words.

I will stop this here with some of JP’s why’s. Compelling for me. This is going to take some work.

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