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Quicksand and Tasks of Consequence

“Bad writing is almost always a love poem addressed by the self to the self.” Toby Litt

“The more books we read, the clearer it becomes that the true function of a writer is to produce a masterpiece and that no other task is of any consequence.” – Cyril Connolly

The time we spend, these moments slipping through the hourglass, are either consequential or quicksand. And so the tasks filling those moments are loaded with questions – is this the right use of this brief moment in time or might there be a better place to spend the grains of sand? Is this a task of consequence, or is it a love poem to the self, mere folly?

You know when you’ve stepped in quicksand. Maybe not immediately, but soon enough you recognize the stickiness of a habit and the sinking feeling that you’re not making any forward progress. Quicksand is tricky stuff. The one thing you don’t want to do when you’re in it is flail in place.

Writing a blog every day might not be a masterpiece, but is it folly? The act of writing is pouring your grains of sand into a jumble of words and placing them just so. With a picture in your mind of what they might be if you could just get it right.

The ultimate measure of tasks is whether you’re flailing in place or going somewhere consequential. What might you otherwise be doing with those grains of sand? The answer isn’t what are you doing now. Not really. It’s what are you becoming? That is what really matters. For what will your masterpiece be, in the end?

Work towards that.

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