You’ve probably heard of Stephen King. He’s like, the world’s most best-selling author of all time. He apparently attends lots of writers conferences where he does Q&As. Sometimes, a young, well-intentioned, budding new writer asks the question “Mr King, what pencil do you use?”
This question makes him sigh. The pencil isn’t important. The notebook isn’t important. What’s important is the writing. And using the same pencil as an author you admire won’t make your own writing any better.
This is a story that I have to remind myself of on a weekly basis. As a tech enthusiast, I’m always looking for that next product or that next app that’ll change the game and 10x my productivity, or efficiency, or video-quality.
And there’s a place for that - clearly, a decent camera will make my videos better quality than a less good one. But I’d argue that in most cases, the equipment doesn’t matter. That moleskin notebook won’t make us any more productive. That new iPad won’t make our revision any more efficient.
Especially when we’re starting out in a new endeavour, we should probably care a lot less about finding the perfect equipment, and focus a lot more on just doing the work.
PS: I can’t remember where I first came across this story, but I was recently listening to Seth Godin’s podcast Akimbo where it came up again. I stopped my skateboard (because I skateboard to work like a baller), got out my phone and wrote it down. This is another wannabe-life-guru tip - write stuff down when you come across interesting ideas :)
Non-Fiction - I recently finished reading The Courage To Be Disliked by Ishiro Kimichi. It was an interesting introduction to Adlerian psychology, and there are a few good lessons that I’ll take away from it. Not the best self-help book I’ve ever read, but a pretty solid read regardless.
Fiction - I’ve just started the audiobook (via Audible) of The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. I needed something to fill the hole left by Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles and a few people suggested Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archive series. Absolutely loving it so far. Definitely a much denser read than the Mistbornseries, but still a joy to listen to.
This post originally appeared as part of my weekly email newsletter. Click here to check out the previous issues and maybe subscribe :)
Ali Abdaal Newsletter
Join the newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox.