Prune


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My words for this year are Pause, Prepare and Prune.

When I first talked to Jaimee about them in December, I thought they were going to be Patience, Perseverance, and Publish.

It's funny. They kept changing. But they remained "P" words. I don't know why.

The transitions from Patience to Pause was a small one. I still wanted to capture the idea of not rushing but the word I needed to have handy for those times I needed the reminder was "Pause".

Perseverance is a great characteristic. In some ways I have the opposite problem. I don't know when to walk away from something. Kim was great at looking at me and reading where I was and saying, "you need to leave there and find something new."

I replaced the stick-to-it advice with the advice to work ahead and prepare.

A while ago I started to read a book on Haskell. My goal wasn't to learn Haskell so much as to learn things from Haskell that would make me a better Swift coder and teacher.

I found the book really difficult.

I tried it several more times.

Each time I went back to Swift and tried different things - but the Haskell book was slow-going for me.

Last week I picked the book up again and things I thought were difficult before seemed very accessible.

I'm not sure if it was the perseverance or the preparation.

Perhaps both.

Perhaps I should have kept them both as words this year.

My third word was going to be "Publish".

For a while it was "Produce".

It was supposed to be a reminder that part of what I'm aiming for is having tangible things to share with others.

But then I encountered screencasts and conference presentations and books and articles where people had shared their thoughts before they were ready.

Don't get me wrong. I saw a lot of great presentations and videos and writing. But I also saw plenty of offerings where the author or presenter hadn't taken the time to find the core.

For me, it's the difference between a blog post and an article.

A blog post is often me finding my way to the truth or to the point of what I'm trying to share.

In an article or a book or a video or a talk, I want to find that point and then build a story that takes you along for a meaningful ride.

Often when I write a chapter of a book, I'll go back and delete the first few paragraphs and then cut a sentence here or there. I needed to write those parts that I would later delete - but you don't need to read them.

So my third word is "Prune".

I need to prune my prose before I present it.

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