Weekly I/O #9

Weekly I/O is a project where I share my learning Input/Output. Every Sunday, I write an email newsletter with five things I discovered and learned that week.

Sign up here and let me share a curated list of learning Input/Output with you 🎉

The below is extracted from the email sent on Jan 17, 2021.

Here’s a list of what I’m exploring and pondering this week.

1. When drafting, write FBR: Fast, Bad, Wrong.

Podcast: Safi Bahcall — On Thinking Big, Curing Cancer, and Transforming Industries | The Tim Ferriss Show

Safi Bahcall is the author of Loonshots. He said there are three hats in writing: hunting, drafting, and editing. In hunting, we find the narrative thread that’s going to hold our stories together. In drafting, we write FBR, fast, bad, and wrong. In editing, we get rid of all the glitches and make it shine.

It is like cooking, where we write narrative thread as our recipes, then we go grocery shopping and just fill our cart as fast as we can, and in the end, we do the editing just like we’re cooking.

In drafting, write fast, bad, and wrong. Write as fast as we can regardless of terrible style, terrible grammar, terrible word choice, wrong dates, wrong names, wrong facts. Writing down those bad and wrong things without stopping to search resources and correct them liberates us to follow the narrative thread and keep going with it. Once you stop, it is like a car going down the highway, it’s easy to stop but then we have to spend all the fuel to get back to speed.

We will eventually realize that all first drafts are shit (in Safi Bahcall’s own words). Everything, when it starts off, is shit. However, with high speed and the courage to produce shit, we will end up with a little bit more creativity. Therefore, it’s okay to have our stuff sound terrible. Just keep going. We fix it up in the editing.

For me, I don’t use grammar check when drafting an article (though it is partially because Grammarly doesn’t support my favorite editor for drafting). Therefore, the results of the grammar check for my first draft are always astonishingly terrifying. But by separating the editing phase from the drafting phase, I get into the flow of creation more fluently. It helps me build the body of an article faster. Again, premature optimization is the root of all evil.

2. Teachers should prepare the student for the student’s future, not for the teacher’s past.

Book: The Art of Doing Science and Engineering

Most teachers rarely talk about the important topic of the future of their fields. They say “No one can know the future”. But the difficulty of knowing the future does not absolve the teacher from seriously trying to help the student to be ready for it when it comes.

It’s worth pondering since one’s projection into the future is apt to be somewhat personal and not universally accepted. Therefore, as a student what do we want to learn more, impersonal surveys or personal story? And what do we need to learn more?

Also, can this rule be applied to other fields, like writers, designers, or even artists?

3. We need to hang out with people who fit our future, not our history.

Quote

It’s definitely hard but we must think about it. Can’t find the original source of the quote.

4. “Above all, recognize that if you have had success, you have also had luck — and with luck comes obligation. You owe a debt, and not just to your gods. You owe a debt to the unlucky.” — Michael Lewis

Quote

When I got into the university, one of the biggest changes I had was that I realized I got into the university not mainly due to my efforts, but my family’s efforts in terms of education, parenting, and all kinds of support. And because of my family’s efforts, I could access the resources that most other people in the country can’t, the richest education resources in the country, which are funded by the taxes all the people are paying.

Therefore, I always think students in my university, if they don’t have any specific reason, should strive for the ability to give back to society because we owe a debt to those underprivileged.

Michael Lewis extends this belief to a broader level.

5. Damien Rice & Earl Harvin — Full Show — Michelberger Lobby — Berlin 2014

Music: Damien Rice & Earl Harvin — Full Show — Michelberger Lobby — Berlin 2014

Damien Rice’s performance at Michelberger Hotel with the awesome drummer Earl Harvin.

Book Recommendation

1. Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon

If you, like me, want to get over the fear of sharing your work, experience, or learning, this tiny book gives you more legit reasons (and maybe more courage) to overcome the fear and do more shameless self-promotion, spam or sharing.

That’s it. Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy it. If you would like to receive the content every Sunday, sign up below 😎

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Voracious learner | Software developer | Cornell Tech student | Better Medium Stats: bit.ly/2RH8Jsf | Medium Articles List: chengweihu.com/blog

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Cheng-Wei Hu | 胡程維

Cheng-Wei Hu | 胡程維

Voracious learner | Software developer | Cornell Tech student | Better Medium Stats: bit.ly/2RH8Jsf | Medium Articles List: chengweihu.com/blog

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