Somehow, it always comes back to baseball.
Earlier this week I celebrated the 5 year anniversary of publishing daily to this blog. The blog itself is 9 years old, but for the first 4 years I didn’t publish consistently.
Before this month is over, I’ll hit the milestone of 2,000 blog posts.
To date, I’ve published over 1 million words here.
It’s a lot of words. A lot of writing.
And a lot of lessons.
This journey has been a wise teacher.
When I started this blog, I vowed to adopt the ethos of “published over perfect.” I didn’t always fully embrace that mindset, often getting caught up in trying to say things better, to the point where I didn’t ship the work.
One reason I committed to publish daily was to force myself out of perfectionism.
I often publish without polishing or proofreading.
Write and ship. Write and ship. It’s a blog, not a book.
It turns out, though, that the commitment to ship work daily is not just about overcoming perfectionism.
It’s about being willing to publish crap. To share work that absolutely sucks, that doesn’t make sense, that simply isn’t even close to my best.
You might wonder: what’s the difference between being imperfect and publishing work that sucks?
Here’s where it all comes back to baseball.
Many people who write online are looking to write a piece that will go viral.
They want to write a home run.
Or they want to write a piece that will rank at the top of Google search. They are swinging to drive in runs.
That’s the perfectionism end of the spectrum. Making big contributions. Hitting the ball to drive in runs.
Daily blogging is often about just getting on base however you can. Sometimes you bunt. Sometimes you draw a walk. That’s the middle of the spectrum. This is where most pieces land.
And at the other end, sometimes you don’t get on base. In fact, many, many, times, you strike out.
In baseball, the best of the best fail over 60 percent of the time.
In the long history of the sport, only 42 players have reached the .400 mark in batting average in a season.
If you hit for .400 in a season, you’re in the elite of the elite. Almost guaranteed to make the hall of fame.
And it also means you failed to connect 60 percent of the time.
The best players in history have gone through extended slumps.
They sucked 60 percent of the time.
Here’s the thing, though: they showed up.
You don’t get averages unless you’re standing at the plate.
Same thing applies in writing.
On any given day, your job is to bring the best you can bring on that day, given the conditions of your life, the state of your nervous system, and whatever is happening within you and around you.
What matters is that you show up. You stand at the plate. You look at pitches. You swing the bat.
You put yourself out there.
Do it enough and you’ll eventually make contact. You’ll get on base. You’ll drive in runs. You may even hit some big flashy home runs.
And the 60 percent of the time that you fail to connect, you can walk back to the dug out with your head held high, because you did the thing that many people only dream about: you got on the field to play.