[w]hen you are actually writing, and working as hard as you should be if you want to succeed, you will feel inadequate, stupid, and tired. If you don't feel like that, then you aren't working hard enough.
seems very, very wrong to me. First of all, the stupid fetishization of "hard work." Writing has to feel bad to produce good results, according to this kind of thinking. Often, I feel more than fine when I am writing, full of energy rather than tired, adequate rather than inadequate, and even reasonably smart. I'm not denying that negative thoughts will often accompany writing, but these thoughts are not signs of virtue or hard work. They have no value in themselves.
Cultivate a confident, energetic but relaxed alertness while writing. Exercise your intelligence. Don't be afraid of feeling it. If you tell yourself writing has to be painful, chances are you will be right! Even if you end up writing well, your writing will feel crabby to your reader, just like a drummer with tense muscles is not likely to be playing "in the pocket." I've had highly productive writing sessions that felt almost effortless, where I've felt brilliant.
Do not confuse this idea of "feeling it" with waiting to feel good enough to write, or expecting to feel good invariably while writing. Tedium, frustration, and fatigue will make appearances sooner or later. Where I differ with Munger is that I don't believe they are signs that you are doing things right. I think of negative thoughts and emotions, rather, as signals telling you to make adjustments to your attitude, your work habits. In that sense, and that sense alone, they are valuable.
Happy New Year. This post was published on 1/1/11 at 1:11 a.m.