Pants. I put them on every weekday

One fine morning in the month of May, an elegant young horsewoman might have been seen riding a handsome sorrel mare along the flowery avenues of the Bois de Boulogne.

One fine morning in May a slim young horsewoman might have been seen riding a handsome sorrel mare along the flower avenues of the Bois de Boulogne.

One fine morning in May, a slim young horsewoman might have been seen riding a glossy sorrel mare along the avenues of the Bois, among the flowers…

In The Plague, Joseph Grand incessantly tweaks the first sentence of his novel while an epidemic strikes the city around him. The plague progresses. His novel does not.

I find myself doodling “Par une belle matinée du mois de mai . . .” in my notebook when meetings begin circling. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a tricky problem get solved by people bloviating around a table. I’ve always solved problems by attacking them early and often. 

I’ve done a few NaNoWriMos. 50,000 words in 30 days comes out to 1667 words per day. The only possible way to hit and sustain that cadence is to just sit down and write. No editing. No reflection. No tweaking adjectives. It’s a process of letting go. Or getting out of your own way. I’ve found that the creative process is remarkably similar to making moonshine. First, you get the foreshots[1]. Those will make you go blind. Then the heads, which will give you hangovers. Then the hearts, that’s the good stuff. Then the tails, same as the heads.

I was on a team that launched an app[2] in 6 weeks I broke my back[3,4,5] in week 3. Some stuff was broken. We fixed it. The product was a success. At the same company, we spent 3 years and tens of millions of dollars making The New Product, which failed spectacularly and resulted in an entire C-suite flush and 20% layoffs.

Par une belle matinée . . .

…..

1. In retrospect, I should have named this project Foreshots.

2. Great team. Shout out to Aaron Schmitt, Sam Patteson, Mike Yoder, Brett Fears, Christi Lau, John Collins, and Shay Isdale.

3. Literally.

4. Skydiving accident. At least they gave me a free t-shirt. It says “Everything will probably be alright” on the back.

5.  In retrospect, the really crazy part was that I’d been taking racing lessons on a 20-turn road course in a blizzard the weekend before. I finished that weekend thinking “Wow, that was dangerous. Next weekend is skydiving. That’ll be much safer.”