Innovation Markers: The Write Metric
Updated: Mar 15, 2019
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Not everything that can be counted matters and
not everything that matters can be counted.
William Bruce Cameron
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Page count, word count and time on the clock are arbitrary metrics; they have little to do with the depth of investment required to consistently and productively advance a writing project.
They are the equivalent of office “face time.”
The value of your writing productivity is based on the best execution of ideas in any given session:
Milestone: Achieving a pre-determined goal for the session. Line edit before sending to peer review? Revise a chapter? Change narrative structure? Transcribe written notes into a digital document? Tighten sections filled with clunky prose?
Insight: You reach this next level of depth by continuing to engage the writing beyond Milestone. The byproduct of this effort is your awareness of something new. Insight surfaces about the work itself or your process. This is great but it’s a one-time event. You want to apply that insight with regularity.
Breakthrough: You keep going. You continue with your writing session until you recognize how to habitually apply the insight. You have broken through to a new level of awareness and skill.
Saturation: A one-time breakthrough does not maintain new skill. You must wire it into your neurons. Saturated with behaviors and ideas beyond what was previously comfortable, you head toward a new way of being.
Transformation: Who you were, what you knew and how you applied it at the beginning of your writing session is fundamentally different from those dynamics at session’s end. You are transformed.
Writes Matthew Syed in his book, Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham and the Science of Success:
“Although getting into a flow may feel good, sometimes we use the term “flow” to describe times when we’re not pushing ourselves very hard. But it’s the hard practice that allows us to improve. A good metaphor is weightlifting at the gym: while a good flow might involve a 30-minute walk and some light free weights, if you are looking to push yourself into chiseled, six-pack ab territory, you’ve got to go deeper. Building muscle at that level doesn’t come without pushing into the territory of the uncomfortable. Deliberate practice research clearly shows that ‘hold nothing back’ periods of work are vital to improve. We must challenge ourselves with increasing difficulty to make progress, and do our best work.”
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Innovation Markers are
the Write Metric