developing taste in criticism

By Laura Gao • 2 min read
July 2023

i think maybe i am self critical in unhelpful ways?

like. when i write online. when i write multiple blog posts a week, my brain goes "you are writing so much and not like. actually making anything real? ur just spending an hour jerking off to ideas and not like doing anything practical."

or sometimes it says "smh you only write so much because you dont have friends to share your life with. no one else writes multiple blog posts a week because they would just tell these things to individual people!!"

or "the tao that can be spoken is not the eternal tao" and your writing can never perfectly map to your stream of consciousness so it's only a distraction to clear thinking and youd think more effectively if you just let urself think without needing to publish.

but like. david perell has made a career out of writing online. he writes 90 mins/day and he says it's the most rigorous intellectual work he does. he has written so many multiple articles shilling online writing. you reap all these benefits of serendipity and etc etc.

and then when i spend a period of time not rlly writing, my brain goes "ah see you used to have this amazing habit and reaped serendipity on autopilot and you lost it, you lazy fuck".

ok now that i write this out it seems obvious that my brain's first level criticism is just instinctive and not well thought through. like i didnt take some time to weigh the tradeoffs of serendipity and having a record of my conclusions vs a fuckton of time spent and [idk there are other harms of writing too much]

i think it's like. dangerous. that like. responding to my brain's instinctive criticism makes me feel like i am doing self improvement when in reality it like. distracts me from thinking more about. like. what are actual things i can improve on.

conclusion: self improvement requires having good taste in criticism. like discernment/judgement over which criticism is worth following. this is like, just as important than the actual part of following criticism, and a thing i havent rlly appreciated in the past.

leave a msg for laura

i respect your emotional rawness. keep introspecting, maybe a little less inspirational quote posting...

msgs are anonymous. optionally leave ur name & discord (or other contact info) if u want me to respond