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Writing, Hibernation & Barbell Strategies

Hi! I’ve been away for a while, as you may have noticed. Not away from any place I normally am, but away from this blog, and away from other places on the internet where I like to show up. My last post to this blog was the day after Thanksgiving—November 23—and while I wish I could say my silence since then has been intentional, that’s only half true.

Thanksgiving and the holiday period that follows has always been a lazy and distracting time for me, but until this year I’ve never had a blog to show me the extent of that torpor. During that time this year, I also directed a huge portion of my mental and emotional energy toward getting a new gig, which I’m happy to say worked out: I left my previous job at the Port Authority just before Christmas and started a new one at Uber’s New York office after the New Year. Periods of stability and stasis, for me, are incredibly fertile, writing-wise, as I’ve learned from this stretch. Major transitional periods, it turns out, are not.

Throughout December, I couldn’t concentrate on writing in the way that I had in the fall. I attribute much of that to my interviewing for (and ultimately choosing to accept) a new job, which required a lot of the attention I normally dedicated to writing. I took a similar hiatus from Kneeling Bus last summer, which I believe led to better and more frequent posting during the moths that followed.

As my life recovers a measure of equilibrium, I feel the ideas and urge to write creeping back to their normal levels. I’m currently reading Nassim Taleb’s new book, Antifragile, and I’m going to try to back into his “barbell strategy” as an explanation/excuse for why I don’t write for Kneeling Bus consistently on a year-round basis. The barbell strategy, in short, describes productive inconsistency: A mixture of two extremes instead of maintaining a consistent average. For my writing, this means seasons of productivity separated by hibernation periods (summer and December). I could post once a week for the entire year, but my internal rhythm dictates a more “lumpy” distribution. The barbell strategy. Again, I wish that had been my master plan entering December, but it’s really just an ex post realization about how I write and think.

That said, I’m back again, and I expect this to be a great year. I’ve accepted a generous offer from Venkatesh Rao at Ribbonfarm to become a resident blogger, with my first post up next week. I can’t give Ribbonfarm enough praise, and it’s a massive thrill to write for the blog that has inspired so much of what I write here. So, stay tuned for that, and start checking Kneeling Bus again if you’ve gotten out of the habit. Follow me on Twitter if you haven’t already. To paraphrase myself last August: The kid is back!

2 Comments on “Writing, Hibernation & Barbell Strategies”

  1. Greg Linster says:

    I’m interested in hearing more about what you think of Antifragile. I’ve been writing about some of the ideas from the book as of late too, but it’s always fascinating to see how other minds interpret and apply the same ideas.

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