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Created: 3 Nov 2022

A friend recently shared that, of late, he has not prioritized writing and notetaking as rigorously as he had in the past.

In sharing this, he said something to the effect of, "I have a clear'ish sense for myself right now; trying to write everything down has become more burdensome than it is helpful."

Hearing him say this this led me to think about my own practice: "How has the writing practice I've developed served me in the past? How is it serving me now?"

For me, writing started as a release, a way to manage and process the anxiety I experienced.

The writing cycle would go as follows for me: something would cause me to feel anxious, I would write about what I was feeling, feel relief for having done so, and then write again the next time something was impacting me.

As I wrote more about feeling anxious, I became less affected by it. This created space for me to make observations about tools I was using, to ask questions that occurred to me while working, to explore ideas of things I might want to build, to unpack quotes that resonated with me from things I was reading, etc.

Over time, this writing/thinking practice summed into a body of thought. A record of things I knew to be true for me that I could draw from and depend on.

I leaned on this knowledge when trying to figure out what I'd do after shutting down the startup I'd worked on with Jeff for ~5 years. I leaned on it when thinking through whether to move from San Francisco or not.

Having this truthful record helped me bring shape and light to what had felt lke large dark spaces these decisions existed within. Said another way: this body of knowledge helped me orient, navigate, and reason about these decision spaces because they helped me to name the values and needs any choice would need to meet. This writing gave me direction.

Ultimately, this body of self-knowledge led to me purusing a role at the Wikimedia Foundation.

It's been 2.5 years since I started this role and I continue to feel challenged and inspired by it.

It's in moments like this very one, where I'm able to feel proud of a decision I've made that I'm reminded that all of this thinking can matter. It can translate into real things. It can be applied. It can serve me in ways that I think end up shaping the life I lead.

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