Just Ship It · 18 September 2010
There are times in our lives when we need to quit trying and start doing. One of my friends, Tim, helped me realize that when he told me that I ought to start my own website and commit to publishing a piece every week. That was almost four years ago and except for a few weeks here and there I have been able to put out something for my real and imaginary fans.
Today, Tim still challenges me with thoughts about writing and teaching, but with his schedule, he rarely even sees the fruits of his challenges to me about writing. After all, by his own admission, he rarely goes to either of my websites (MediocreMan.com and MichaelTMiyoshi.com) that he helped me to create over three years ago. I know that he has not read many of scripts in the new section of MichaelTMiyoshi.com, and he was the one who gave me the prompts for many of them.
Regardless of how much he has read my pieces, I still like to think that Tim and I are like iron sharpening iron as we challenge each other about different aspects of our lives. One of the sayings that he has been trying to get his students to embrace and that I have fully embraced is: “Just ship it.”
Most businesses fail within the first couple years of opening their doors. I would imagine that most aspiring writers fail after about the same amount of time. Especially, when they keep getting rejection letters instead of book deal offers. In my own case, I just quit writing inquiry letters. Mostly because I do not have the time. But I keep writing, and I keep posting. Whether what I write is my best work or not, I just ship it. And according to my Facebook fan page and the logs on my sites, people keep reading.
(For those fans who keep hoping I will write something worthwhile one day, I hope I do not disappoint you for too long, but if I do keep disappointing, you can blame Tim and his “Just ship it” attitude. But keep reading. I will get this writing thing down one day.)
That “Just Ship It” attitude has been my mantra for about half of my mediocreman.com writing life. When my weekly deadline is looming after a week of writing and a stinker is all that comes out, I just ship it. When for whatever reason, I have not written anything that week and only have something I wrote many years ago, I just ship it. When I have only one piece that I should sit on and edit one more time, I just ship it. Even though my deadline is merely a line in the sand that I have drawn each week, I still just ship something.
I know that at least one person is not so happy with my attitude. My wife, The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi, thinks that I should go for quality instead of quantity (Quality Writing). After all, she reasons, I am still really just writing for myself. The deadline is really meaningless. So I should go for quality. However, I think of my hundreds of fans (more than two hundred is hundreds), both real and imaginary, and wonder how many of them wait with bated breath each week for my words of wit and wisdom. If my Facebook feedback is any indication, not many. But still, I do not want to disappoint them with a lie like, “Gone fishing,” or a note (and an old poem) to tell them that I was too lazy to come up with a couple hundred words, no matter how scattered. I would rather just ship something. By the way, if you look at my column on quality writing, you will see that I actually ignored rather than followed The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi’s advice.
Hopefully, I have not written too much of this before. (After all, I know I have written about the quality issue before.) Still, I like to write a little about writing from time to time. Even if it is just a little piece about throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks. So even if I have written too much these past few years about writing, I am still going to follow Tim’s advice and just ship it.
© 2010 Michael T. Miyoshi
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