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Doing the Work

The [Input|Output]s of Mark
Doing the Work
By Mark Askew • Issue #21 • View online
In the last newsletter, I said:
I’ll have two-three weeks off before the fall class begins. I will enjoy the time off.
Soon after publishing that, I received a notification from my instructor with the syllabus for the next class—one week away.
Somehow, in my excitement to have a break from my copyediting course, I made the grave mistake of not updating my calendar with the new course dates weeks earlier. We live and we learn. This is to all say that I am back in my copyediting course with a focus on medium level copyedits for the next ten weeks.
Your audience doesn’t want your authentic voice, they want your consistent voice. — The Practice by Seth Godin
It is half-past midnight as I write this newsletter. I procrastinated a bit much this evening and started my class lectures late. I then forgot to charge my watch, and so, I now stare as it slowly increments in batter life, which is much needed to track my sleep. Now, what to do while my watch charges—oh, my newsletter.
The quote above is from a recently read book, The Practice: Shipping Creative Work by Seth Godin. And as you can guess, he talks about the practice of doing the work, shipping it, and starting all over again. As I looked to update the overdue date on my Trello card for this newsletter, I thought of the quote. Consistency—that word is an anathema to me. Try as I might, I repel at the idea of doing the same thing over and over, or as some would put it, being consistent in action. In the end, I believe this is the true enemy I must battle because I want to do the work. I do the work. To improve requires consistent action; the practice calls for consistency. This newsletter shall aid me in my efforts.
Let’s leave you with one more quote to round this out. This time, we will move from writing to reading.
Sometimes the experience of reading is profound, harrowing, beautiful; other times enraging, contemptible, unrewarding. Whatever the consequence, the practice itself is riveting. I don’t need to “like” the work; I want instead to “think” it. — The Reader As Artist by Toni Morrison
The discussion in my copyediting course last week prompted me to scour my collection of quotes. The essay I pulled this quote from centers on reading, the skill, and art of it.
Reading is something I’ve been enamored with for a while. I’ve been simultaneously attempting to strengthen my writing yet also improve my reading. I cannot express the act of reading any better than Ms. Morrison had, but I will note that I find simultaneous joy in reading something and being present in it, as I do reading something and analyzing its meaning. Occasionally, the analysis deepens my love of the work or brings about a new understanding. It makes me think.
In the end, I always find something to enjoy. And it is in thanks to learning the skill to read that I can enjoy the art of reading. If only I’d known these decades ago.

Listening
Deep Questions with Cal Newport
Reading (& Recommendations)
How to Read a Book: A classic book on the skill of reading. This really transformed my reading. You’d think that reading was entirely simply, and on the surface, it is. This book provides you the skills and techniques to derive more from the text by analysis and critique. Further, it provides you methods to apply to many forms of text. This is certainly a book I’d recommend.
The Practice: Shipping Creative Work: I just finished this book last week for a book review episode on The Productivity Lab. The review for this episode will be released in Mid-October along with a written review on my blog.
Infinite Jest: At the recommendation of a friend, I am reading—and listening—to Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.
** Book links are affiliate links.
Watching
Tokyo Revengers (TV Series 2021– ) - IMDb
Watch What If...? | Disney+
Watch Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol Streaming (2021-) | Peacock
New on The Productivity Lab
Daybooks – The Productivity Lab
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Mark Askew

Insights from consumption, Inputs and Outputs of Mark centers on reading, writing, and productivity.

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