220621 – Morning Pages

Quick post on how I spent yesterday and some highlights. And some lessons. And some thoughts.

6:42. I woke up a few minutes ago. I dint sleep well. I really think it’s all the coffee that I am having. I can choose not to have it. But the challenge is I can’t get things done from where I live. So that. Lol, I should, by now, either stop ranting about it or fix it. Each day I have the same old rant.

Anyhow. Good things about yesterday?

  1. I was tempted to have Diet Coke. And I did not. Thanks to Harshit and a couple of more people on Twitter.
  2. Oh, I am back on Twitter. Please do follow me on @saurabh.
  3. I found a cheaper supplier to get my iPhone’s screen fixed. All this while I was paying about 8K to get some screen. I’ve been able to negotiate it down to 5.5K. Let’s see if I can get it down a bit more. My sweet spot is 4K. I know I will get a crappy screen but the phone I use is like 3 years old and is broken and all that. I just need to get it to work for a few more months till I have saved enough to get a new one!
  4. Roam now has a desktop app for Mac! This means I will be able to take more notes! Yay!

Apart from these minor ones, here are a few things that I want to catalog for posterity.

A. I got myself an electric toothbrush yesterday. This one. I tried it and it was unlike other experiences I’ve had with brushing. It was a funny feeling to have something shaking the interiors of my mouth. It reminded me of all those dental treatments I’ve got done for myself. You know how they move that drill in your mouth? That. Let’s see how the experiment goes.

B. I was talking to someone to see if I can do some business writing for them. I sent them a link to this website where I write morning pages and all that. They looked at it and said that this is more like a personal blog and thus does not showcase my acumen as a business writer.

I agree. So, I need to work on the website to clearly highlight the kind of work I do. Make sections about my thought, about what I do (work), about projects (like SoG Book, SoG Grant, NFG), ideas, writing (for businesses, fiction, and films) and I don’t know all those things that I do.

So that’s an action item for me. #note2self

C. The next few days would be crazy mad. One of the book projects I am working on (where I have been commissioned to work on a book) has revived and there a million changes needed in it. It’s one of those projects that’s really challenging me at almost all levels – intellectual, creative, patience and more. Plus the story I am working on is very very inspiring. To a point that if I can build a life like the man I am helping write the story of, I would die a happy man.

D. Staying with writing, on a whim I decided that I want to help people write better. Actually, it was not a whim, per se. It was an outcome of the NFG session I recently took. I realized that the world would be far better if people could write better. At least in business communication. So I put this post out on Linkedin.

The thing is, all this work from home has made us Zoom monkeys and we are sending a million emails back and forth and often a lot is lost in transition. I want to offer some practical tips and inputs on what seems to work.

Of course, with things like writing, there is no universal shortcut or method. I can only help define a set of rules that could be useful. I am in the process of crafting content. Help me find out what all needs to be taught. As a business professional, what do you think you need help with when it comes to writing?

And no. Like other things, I will not charge individuals for this. I would rather have businesses run this. Let’s see where it goes.

E. I had some 2 KGs of rice yesterday. I mean I had rice for lunch. And I had rice for dinner. I love the damn grain so much that if I had my way, I would eat just that. But then, I know that it’s unhealthy as fuck and I need to stay away from it. But then dil to bachcha hai ji and all that. So I shall have more rice today. And for the next few days. Till I figure out what my next diet regimen is going to be. Or may till I decide if I want to spend the month of July in Delhi.

Let’s see.

I guess this is about it.
I know this is a short post but this is all I have on the top of my head for the time being.

Here’s the streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 191
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 103
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

160621 – Morning Pages

Quick post on things on the top of my head. Nothing interesting or important to be honest. You may skip this.

7:39. I couldn’t sleep last night. I think it was all the coffee I had during the day. Which was a lot to be honest. Blame it on all the time I spent at Starbucks yesterday. Which was a lot to be honest. But then I got a lot of work done as well. So, that’s nice. I am hoping that they’d allow longer working hours for cafes from this weekend onward. That means I will probably be able to spend more time at a Starbucks and get more done. Unless I have a lot of calls. The thing with calls at a Starbucks is, there’s way too much background noise. And anyway, people use it for recreation. Not to get things done. I am an anomaly. Anyhow.

The highlight of yesterday has to be that I did 12 rounds of Surya Namaskar. The day before I could manage only 8. So there is some improvement for sure. I want to be able to do 25 at least.

The thing is, doing 12 rounds is ok. The trouble is after those 12 rounds. The recovery after takes forever. In the sense, I need to catch my breath. I am on the verge of puking, so that needs calming down. The bladder gets full and that needs a release. The sweat is intolerable. It’s crazy! So I need that break. And this takes a good additional 20 mins away. And that in itself is a challenge. I hate to waste the time in the morning.

Did yoga. 12 rounds. Was not tough. But takes hell more than 18 mins. To recover after the yoga is done. Mornings are too precious for me. Need to start with skipping rope, resistance bands, and weights. Let’s see when.

I have to say that I can’t seem to stop having the Egg Soup from this restaurant called Fit Food Company. I am not sure how “fit” the food is but I just love it. And the croutons are out of this world. No, they are not the best but they’re really really addictive. Guess my love for crunch is never-ending. I mean love this so much that I actually am watching Fauda just to get company while I eat!

This is the reverse of how I was. I would watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine and order crap to order along. I was filling the void in my life with banter and random carbs. Here I am, loading myself with egg broth and croutons and a series about the Israeli-Palestine Conflict!


In other news, the number of open tabs on my browsers is now 143! I dont even know if I’d ever consume all these. One random day, the browser would crash and I would love all these, and then I would rant about it on the blog and then move on. Lol. Kaisa sa hoon main!

Oh, btw, I am back on Twitter. So in case you wish to follow me again, I am on @saurabh. I am not sure what I would do there or how I would change how I use Twitter, but I know that I need a release during the day and twitter works the best for me! I just need to avoid putting in a lot of time on it. One easy way is to not install the app (which I am doing as we speak :D). The difficult one is to continue to use Android on browser and the difficulty of typing on an Android phone will prevent me from using abusing twitter 😀


And finally, I have a decision to make. I am going out for the weekend and that means I have the option of leaving my computer behind. I am in two minds. If I take it, I know I will spend all the time on it. And not on thinking / reading etc. And if I don’t take it, I will break this 185-day streak that I am on! Both are important to me. I don’t know which one to choose. What do you think? Help me decide. Click on one of the options below…

And that’s about it for the day. See you guys tomorrow.

Here’s the streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 185
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 97
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 1 (Did 12 rounds yesterday)

210521 – Meditations

A quick post on a few things that are clouding my head. Hoping to get some clarity. None seems to be coming.

6:42. Woke a few minutes ago. Had slept at 10ish if I am not wrong. So 8+ hours. And I groggy. Lol!

Decided yesterday that I will go for a walk after publishing this. I did. Walked for about an hour (about 6K steps, not 10K). And saw this video. Will see something else as I walk today. By the time I was back from the walk, it was 10 and I was literally late for work and meetings. But it was good to get the walk in. I even managed 10 minutes of meditation before the calls were to start. So that’s cool.

The morning pages. Lemme use bullets. Like yesterday. Allows me greater flexibility.

A. So at work, I am struggling. I am lagging behind on things. I think a large reason is all the infinite meetings that I am supposed to be a part of. I have to find a way to reduce those. I had thought I would create a maker-manager schedule and stick to that. But as someone in the middle management, my time is required by the ones I report to, and then by the ones that work with me. There are numerous status checks and updates required and I just can not take away three days from the week for that. May be I can start with one day a week where I would not take any calls and spend that time thinking deeply? Let’s see.

B. Oh, I am still tripping onto the restoration videos on Youtube. What I love about those is that people that restore things, they are on the project for days. It’s like seeing a master-painter at work. It’s like seeing a magnum opus come to life. In front of your eyes! It is more or less one person, showcasing their prowess with disciplines like woodwork, painting, lathe machines, sandblasting, metal, electronics, and more. In fact, there is some perverse pleasure that you get in opening up screws and how things work. I remember, as a child, I loved the idea of opening up all the devices that I could – of course, not a lot of those – I did not have a big set of screwdrivers or drill machines with all those bits. I think any child growing up in safe homes has to have access to these screwdrivers and opportunities to further their curiosity. So that!

C. I have started to get active on Twitter all over again. No, I haven’t seen any uptick in my following list (actually, it’s slipping down by the day). But I am consuming more content that I prefer. Without Twitter, my primary source of information was news and that is, well, news. I wasn’t learning new things, I wasn’t satiating my curiosity, I wasn’t enjoying.

Since I’ve been back on Twitter, I am back in the zone where I look forward to tweets and interacting with people. I love how my reading inbox is full again and actually overflowing. I am back to getting inspired by random acts of strangers on the timeline. Like this tweet

Two of the most-followed people on Twitter Internet are talking about capturing things that they learn. I am so impressed that I want to do something similar. Krishna used to run a newsletter where he would write things that he learned in the week gone by. It was such a pain it’s not funny. I used to write a letter every day where I would talk about what I learned (SoG Letters). Used to take me over an hour and despite sending those out for more than a year, I was unable to get traction. And like any such project, I stopped sending those. Thing is, I need external validation for everything I do.

Like these two people are talking, the daily lessons list probably becomes unsustainable. However, in my case, I am sure I learn more things each day than I can log. I may not be able to write a letter but I can definitely put a tweet as I end my day. I am supposed to start from today. Let’s see how it goes.

Oh, this also feeds my lust of owning an audience. You know, like a celebrity does. Now, I dont have anything that a celeb may have – looks, charm, talent etc. So, its literally impossible. But I want to try.

Why would I want an audience, you may ask. The thing is, I don’t want fame per se. I don’t want people asking for autographs. But what I do want is access to people that I would not have otherwise. I have seen, learned, observed that if you have an audience, doors open easily for you. And that’s what I am after. For people like me that don’t have some innate talents, it’s the relationships that open the doors. Doors to a better life, better opportunities, and in general, better things.

Let’s see how I chase this betterness over the next few days.

That’s about it. Over and out for the day. See you guys tomorrow. Here’s the streak.

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 159
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 2
  • #noCoke – 71
  • 10 mins of meditation – 2
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

281220 – Morning Pages

Today I talk about the best burger place in Goa (that I frequent often), a new project in Goa, and a few things from here and there.

719 AM.

I am up before the sun! Even though I slept late.

Yay! That’s an achievement! Now to fix the food. And add a workout. And I am sorted.

Food is also more or less sorted. I have talked Nicky (of NikcyM’s Kitchen fame) into whipping lo-carb meals for me, even though they are known for their burgers. Going by the hearsay that they are emerging as the favorite burger place of Goa – for both locals and tourists alike!

In exchange, I’ve become a handyman at his cafe.

Here’s a plug. If you like burgers, you HAVE to visit them. If you like your food served with warmth, you HAVE to visit them. If you like to eat with people that respect you for more than being just a customer, Nicky’s it is. Oh, and when you go there, say you are my friend and I promise he would extend a 10% discount.

Lemme indulge further about Nicky M’s. The first day I landed in Goa, Nupura took me to Nicky’s for a drink. At the time I was tired from a long flight and longer stay in Delhi and I was not in a chatty mood and I was not very impressed by the small, cozy seating. But once I sat down to eat, I was amazed at the flavors on my tongue. The buns and the patties are probably similar to other places but the sauces and the cooking was what probably made the burger I had special. It was just right, even for someone like who could be discerning af. I was hooked and I don’t think there’s been a day when I haven’t gone to them!

I did not know that I would become a regular. The couple that runs the place, Jui and Nicky, are so so hospitable. Not saying this because they feed me but because they genuinely care. This is how small businesses ought to be. I think I can call them friends.

Moving on.

So my first project is here. I call it Shumbur – 100 stories from Goa.

I plan to write about the 100 most interesting people I can meet that call Goa home. These may be from Goa originally or may have adopted Goa as their home but they have to be here. And they have to be adding to the state – you know, creating employment, adding value, keeping Goa on how it’s ought to be.

This may not evolve into THE most definitive list per se. But I shall try. I mean I only have access to those people that choose to respond to my DMs or follow-ups. So far I have sent these to some 10 people and not one has replied. Which is ok. I cant keep getting ignored.

This may take more than 2 years to do (even if I do one story a week, I will need two years) but I think it would be interesting.

I think more than anything else, it would help me with book2. So let’s see.

Ok. I got digressed. The laptop ran out of battery. And when I powered it up, I made the mistake of logging onto WA. That took away some time.

So the next thing I want to talk about is… I don’t know.

Damn, I lost the flow. The lesson is that always ensure that the laptop has enough juice. I am anyway hoping to get a new laptop as soon as Croma gets the M1 Air in stock. I have some points that I want to use.

Ok I know.

So lately I have been away from Twitter. In case you don’t follow me, I am @saurabh. I mean I do tweet out things but I am spending considerably lesser time on it. And I need to change that. No, I don’t want to spam the world there but I need to get active. The kind of connections you make there and the kind of access that opens us there is unparalleled. And I know I can add value and contribute and help others grow. While I grow myself. That’s how life ought to be.

So when I get active, I need to identify what I want to stand for. The thing is, for someone like me, an aspiring polymath, it is tough to get siloed into one. Plus every time I choose one thing, I fear that I will miss out on all the things that I am NOT choosing. You know, if I talk about films, I will miss out on books. If I talk of books, I will miss being a marketer. If I focus on that, I will get away from startup ideas. If I don’t proactively think of a unicorn-able idea, I would not be able to create a large impact in the world. If I don’t create a large impact, I would die unfulfilled. If I die unfulfilled, what’s the point of living this life and knowing all that I know and chasing all that I want to know?

I mean I can live like an “influencer” that lives in a bubble (I hope Daku doesn’t cringe at this) and post pictures of the mountains in the distance, the breakfast on the table, the biggini shoots, the parties, unpacking of gifts that “brands” send me and so on and so forth. That life is not bad either. Like I keep saying, being an influencer is not a bad idea. I wish I had the flair to be one! Of course, if you are Daku, you do none of the above and silently add value to your community, like he does. Or what I tried with SoG.

Ok, back at serious matters at hand.

I need to get active on Twitter. And before that, I need to identify what I want to stand for in life. The generic, all-purpose, please-all, ice-cream-like positioning won’t work.

Ideas anyone?


PS: So I have had Krishna and Prad give me feedback on all that I’ve been writing. Thanks, guys. While I don’t talk about your inputs here, I do add those to my Roam and think and plan to act on those.

PPS: Every time I publish these morning pages, I send these to a few friends on WhatsApp. In case you want to be added to the broadcast list, lemme know.

Tweets vs Blogposts

Even when we are in 2020, why do I prefer blogging over tweets? As a creator, as a learner and as someone that wants to grow!

Hola! 

If you are a longtime reader of this blog (or blogs in general), you would know how blogging as a hobby has been sort of replaced by things like Instagram, tweets, and so on and so forth. Both in general and for me. And how blogging is now a lot more “content marketing” where companies pay peanuts to desk monkeys to churn out words that trap those search engine spiders logs. And how the “content” that is created does not really do anything good to any reader, even if they may want to read about that topic. And how there is so much content that it’s impossible to filter noise and signal; assuming you know what is signal for you! And how long-form writing by non-writers is dying a slow death? 

It’s sad that so many people sharing so many deeply personal anecdotes with so many strangers is all gone. I mean it’s now moved to Twitter and Instagram and all that. But I am not sure how many people are blessed with the talent to push their thoughts in mere 280 characters (or maybe 2200 for Insta). I, at least cant. Not that gifted. May be if I work hard on writing, I may learn the art of brevity? 

And this is why I have kept the blog alive. And this is why I love the idea of writing letters (come, be my pen pal?). And this is why I like the idea of journaling, diary entries, notes, etc. 

The thing is, a blog allows me to push my unfiltered thoughts, things I am thinking on, things I am working on, things I seek opinion on. And put those somewhere on the world wild web. For others to see and respond to and allow me to think better.

I miss those times when I’d be brimming with ideas about the blog posts that I’d want to write. I’d have a draft folder thicker than all the 7-8 Harry Potter books combined. And I’d look forward to publishing posts and wait with bated breath for that one rare comment that I would get once in a month or two. It was another level of exhilaration. Something that the Twitter generation would never know – after all, tweets are far faster to engage with 🙂

Anyhow. 

So, today, I am thinking about where do I want my content to go (this is what I’d do with my blog – write write write till I get tired; vomit out all my ideas, thoughts here; and since the blog is in the public domain, I’d try harder to put forth better arguments; and by the time I was done writing, I’d have some sort of clarity). Here is my attempt to think with my words. 

And, with that, here we go. In no order… 

1. Individual as a Media Company

In the times to come, unless you are a media company (even as an individual), you’d lose out. As a business, as an individual, as even a rock or a vegetable. Stories, media, content would help you stay relevant. 

You thus have to think like a media company and churn out content that is valuable and interesting and all that. 

2. 1000 True Fans

The entire idea of 1000 True Fans would be far far more relevant in the times to come. Creators (a word I used when I applied for Gumroad’s gig for customer service) would live lives that they want and will rely on patrons to support them with micro-transactions, micro-donations. And with time, you would see more and more people go down the creator route. We are already seeing the likes of Patreon, Onlyfans, etc allowing people to create economically sustainable lives. 

3. Writing

As someone who likes to straddle multiple things and at some point in time make an impact for a billion people, I need to be very very good with words. After all, words do move mountains. And these words will open doors for me, allow me to know more people, satiate my curiosity, and so on and so forth. 

In one word, my words will give me access. And thus I need to get more active and more aggressive with this! 

4. Text vs Pictures vs Video

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a thousand pictures. So, to improve the output by a 1000×1000, I need to pivot to doing videos at some point. Not sure though when.

PS: Thanks, Annkur for the nudge. Do tell me what would you want to see on a video from me. 

5. One, single, unified home for content

Right now, my content is scattered at multiple places – my own website, medium, blog, Mailchimp, tiny letter, substack, and more. And with each passing day, these platforms are only going to grow and more platforms would come in. And thus the content will scatter even more. 

And as a result, my patrons (and the ones I want to get access to) would probably not find what they are looking for! 

So I need to find a solution to this. May be I will use the website to showcase the best work and one blog destination to dump these thoughts? I don’t know yet. 

6. Tracks that people want to read about

Continuing with the scatteredness, it is no secret that I am a scatterbrain. My writing, output, and other things are spread too thin. I talk about marketing, entertainment, content, podcasts, entrepreneurship, writing, habits, notes, poker, and a million other things. 

And thus there is no way I can give a consistent experience to readers that are interested in just one genre. I mean if you are a filmmaker, you may want to read what I had to write about The Trial of the Chicago 7 but why would you read about how I refuse to have a kitchen at my home? Or that walking barefoot is the thing you need to practice but living in a city like Mumbai, it’s literally impossible! 

So once I know what and how and where all I am writing, there has to be a way for people to identify “tracks” they want to consume and they must be able to go down that path easily. For example, when you are subscribing to newsletters on those large websites, you have an option of subscribing to certain sections (kind of content) and receive updates from only that section, that track. I will have to implement that! 

7. Twitter

Lemme talk about Twitter. The thing that got me down this path! 

The thing with the tweet is, even though there is a permalink of the tweet per se, to me, a tweet looks and feels ephemeral. It is something that’s hanging in the air. I’d love to change it and have a more solid, permanent, tangible link. Like a URL to a website. A website feels a lot more solid to me. Oh, by the way, the public URLs that I host on my own website on? They are tough to pull off – I keep trashing my website every now and then and I start from scratch! I need to fix this. 

Plus, while most of my greatest connections have come via Twitter, I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that it’s the primary destination where I create content. It can at best be a distribution platform. And heck, it’s a powerful destination! No? 

8. Writing to pay your bills

Making money and pivoting to being a writer! This is a big one. And this is what I am most conflicted about. 

The thing is, I’d love to be on substack or Patreon or something because I like the idea of monetizing my audience, my true fans. Even though I do NOT write with the intention of making money off my writing, I have been told by at least one person (thanks, Krishna!) that he is happy to pay me for what I write. Apparently, it adds value to his life. And that to me is music. 

For two reasons. A, I add value. The reason I even write in the first place. And B, people find it valuable enough to pay! 

So, if I can get 1000 people like Krishna, I’ll be free from the rigmarole of holding onto a steady job! And I can potentially take a step in the direction where I won’t have to work for others. And spend my life like a dog chasing cards – in random pursuits, where the chase itself is a reward! 

Of course, once I start seeking money for what I write, I need to not get sucked into this honeytrap and go down the desk-monkey route. 

The other thing that I am sure of is that I do not want to “profiteer” by sharing things I know. Whatever little I know, I know those because I have had generous people who were kind to me and shared things with me without expecting anything in return. And it is not right for me to profiteer when I myself haven’t paid for those! So that!

A big part of me thus does not want to charge at all. May be I’ll accept donations? I can ask people to donate whatever they deem is ok. But then, while I go with the pay what you go model, do I want to guilt-trip people into paying? Dunno. 

And if and when I do go the monetization path (in whatever shape or format), I need to decide how do I do it. With Patreon? Substack? Stripe? Ideally, I’d love to have a button or something (may be stripe connection to WordPress) on my own website. Let’s see. 

Sigh! You see the conflict? 

9. Accountability.

This is a big one. Right now, I write things as and when I feel like. There is no structure, no predictable cadence, no topic, no accountability. But once I decide that I want to be a writer for hire, I would have to be a lot more accountable. Someone said it right that a predictable routine is one of the secrets behind a free, wild, flowing, interesting life – the kind that gives you experiences that you long for. And the experiences that can shape you into a better man! 

So, I need to probably pull them socks up and get to a routine. For what I write, even if it’s across genres and all that. No?

***

So yeah, these things. 

What started as a rant, a comparison between tweets and blog posts has become a tome that I am not sure who would read. 

I will decide over the next few days and I will of course keep you guys posted. Till then, it’s over and out!