Founder at Write.as

Falling short in 2020

I chased many things this year, particularly in business, and didn't achieve what I was hoping for. This hit me in the last week or so. Since I've been striving and grasping all year, reaching November far short of my goals felt disappointing — which is unusual for me. I'm usually fluid and adaptable, but at some point this year I stopped moving, my old goals ossified into hopes, and I lost my beat. Now I'm trying to reset a bit.

Having the chance for greenfield creativity usually helps with this. Just as writing in public became a little heavy for me this year, working with past projects got heavy. Lately I've been thinking about a communication tool that helps me keep in touch with the most important people to Write.as. I want a simple tool that perfectly fits my mind and does nothing more than help me get the job done.

My current system for tracking customers and opportunities involves several paper notebooks, a daily planner, an unsorted email inbox, a special address book, social media follows and bookmarks, various DMs, forum topics, issue tracker tasks, and so on. It goes like this: I have a conversation with someone and put relevant tasks into an unspecified, un-centralized queue across these digital and analog spaces — and then (frankly) I get to them whenever I remember. I need a better way to remember not just service and development tasks, but also how they're connected to people — users, customers, potential customers, partners, open source collaborators, friends, and so on. The minimum viable product (MVP) will likely be an email client. Though I'd build it only for me at first, I'd keep a mind toward wider usage in case it turns out to be useful.

As for those heavy existing projects, I'm calming my scattered brain. Not unrelated to my disorganized communication, I've found myself thinking of the 100 different opportunities for our products and company, looking for that one sweet spot that'll help us take off. But it goes in business just as in life that all you need is already in front of you — which for Write.as is our large, supportive community of writers, readers, users, customers, and collaborators.

So as I look to the end of 2020, this is my focus. New product development that doesn't directly help users will cease for now, as we make sure everyone on the platform is happy. And any issues we know of that we haven't addressed yet will finally get addressed. The rest should fall into place.

With that, I hope to write again, for myself and for this business — lifting the heavy; feeling light enough to move again.