Writer Robin Sloan writes, “Flow is the feed. It’s the posts and tweets. It’s the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that remind people you exist. Stock is the durable stuff. It’s in the content you produce that’s as interesting in two months (or two years as it is today. It’s what people discover via search. It’s what spreads slowly but surely, building fans over time.”
And this is something that I see in myself the past few months.
For example, last April 2020, my curiousity piqued in human-centered prisons after watching this short video created by Vox and 99 pi.
The video resonated so much to me that I even wrote a blog post related to it: Would You Support Humane Prison Design In Your Own Country? Why or Why Not? (published April 2020). Since then, I indulged in resources relating to human-centered design and prisons. I got a writing internship in June and by August, I messaged our head asking if I could work on an article related to Human-centered Prisons. With her green light, I began working on it. The whole time I was working on it, I was scared, terrified sometimes, because I wasn’t an expert. My curiousity is the only thing in me but I started to look at it as a good thing. I may not be an expert but I know I can contribute something to the conversation. Long story short, I accomplished the article entitled: Rethinking Prisons. A few weeks after, I wrote another similar article, but shorter and more opinionated, for our college newspaper: Why We Should Build Human-Centered Prisons.
What started out as notes and just following my curiousity became an opportunity for me to share what I learned.
“But the thing about keeping notebooks is that you have revisit them in order to make the most out of them. You have to flip back through old ideas to see what you’ve been thinking,” writes Austin Kleon in hus book Show Your Work! “Once you make sharing part of your daily routine, you’ll notice themes and trends emerging in what you share. You’ll find patterns in your flow.”
This is also the reason why I keep commonplace notebooks and read it religiously. I’m always on a lookout for any patterns. All of my blogposts are from patterns too. If you had read most of them, you’ll notice that ideas are overlapping with each other. I built into it every now and then.
I never imagined that my curiousity could grow into something. Whenever I remember how my journey went, I became much much more confident in acting on my ideas even though the future looked so uncertain.
It’s not how smart you are in the field or how skilled you are. What matters is what you contribute. Author James Clear wrote tips on how to get started as a writer and the last tip states, “Write about what fascinates you. You don’t need to be an expert. Curiousity leads to expertise.”
Small things when accumulated turns into something massive. Do not worry about not having a big idea, just continue working first on where your curiousity leads you.
Author Paul Graham advices:
“The way to get a big idea to appear in your head is not to hunt for bìg ideas, but to put in a lot of time on work that interests you, and in the process keep your mind open enough that a big idea can take roast… Put in time how and on what? Just pick a project that seems interesting: to master some chunk of material, or to make something, or to answer some question. Choose a project that will take less than a month, and make it something you have the means to finish. Do something hard enough to stretch you, but only just, especially at first. If you’re deciding between two projects, choose whichever seems most fun. If one blows up in your face, start another. Repeat till, like an internal combustion engine, the process becomes self-sustaining, and each project generates the next one. (This could take years!)”