I’m Lou Franco, and this is Episode 8 of Write While True, which is a writing program for programmers.
If you follow it literally, you’ll be in an infinite loop of writing. But I mean program as in a training program.
So, in each episode, I’ll challenge you with an exercise that will help you build a writing habit. This is Season one, which is about foundational exercises.
Listen to Write While True at your desk, and when it’s over, start writing.
Lower the Bar
This episode is about lowering the bar, and I’m tempted to just say go do it and sign off. That would be the ultimate lowering the bar for this podcast.
I won’t do that, but I am going to keep the bar on this episode pretty low. As usual I’ve written a script and I can see that it’s about a third of the length of my usual ones. So this episode might be about four or five minutes.
And, you’re probably thinking — Lou, I thought the bar for Write While True episodes was pretty low already.
You’re right, and thanks for noticing.
The only way I am able to keep up a once-a-week production schedule for this podcast is because I have a low bar.
Each episode is about ten minutes. This one might be five.
I listen to a lot of podcasts, some by single hosts, and they can easily go on for 30 minutes to an hour on a topic. I might one day get there, but right now, 10 minutes is about all I can do.
Even in that 10 minutes, I have a canned 30 second intro and about a 30 second internal promo, so 10% of the time is not even new content.
But, I do try to deliver one good tip and at least one good resource each week—that’s as low as the bar goes. If I do that, I consider the episode to be good enough.
Lowering the Bar is a one-dimensional concept
Even as I’m telling you to lower the bar, I have to tell you that I hate the idea of thinking about a bar. Raising it or lowering it.
Here’s the thing about the bar. It’s inherently a one-dimensional concept.
It forces you to think of only one aspect of your work.
Maybe the bar for you is some kind of judgement of your “quality”. But, if you aren’t writing a lot, you might not be the best judge of this. By lowering it a bit, you can consider other benefits of shipping.
By lowering the bar on my podcast length and content, I got to spend time editing 7 podcasts. Each time I learned more about how to edit and master the audio. I learned more about the software you use to do that.
I’m also getting more practice writing for my spoken voice and reading in more naturally. I have a long way to go, but I’m never going to get there if I don’t ship.
Even as I lower the bar on one aspect, I am raising it on different ones.
In my intro, I asked you to listen at your desk, ready to write when I am done speaking.
But first, I want to thank you for listening so far. As a new podcast, I am depending on you to spread the word if you found it valuable. I also want to encourage you to send your feedback email to firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on twitter @loufranco or look for me on LinkedIn.
I would love a review or rating in the Apple Podcasts app, stars in Overcast, or whatever else your podcast player allows. And subscribe if you want more episodes.
If you write publicly, please send me a link.
Ship something, anything
If you’ve been following this podcast from the first episode, I hope you have a few first drafts sitting in your CMS or in your note taking tool. If there’s one that’s been sitting for a few weeks, what’s stopping you from shipping it as is.
Figure that out—consider doing the minimum to get it out. Set a 30 minute time limit and get it good enough.
Do a few editing sweeps. Of course, check the grammar and spelling. Make sure it looks professional.
Even as you lower the bar, remember that there are some things you gain just by shipping.
Your goal right now is to ship something, anything, and you can do it if you lower the bar.
Thanks for listening. This has been Write While True and since true is true, start writing.