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Duende35: The Oyster's Guide to finding your personal monopoly

Duende35: The Oyster's Guide to finding your personal monopoly
Photo by Thomas John on Unsplash

I have a confession to make. All this time, I have been writing like an oyster spat.

According to David Perell, "The ultimate goal of writing online is to build a Personal Monopoly." This is my 160th published post on my website and I still haven't found mine.

You should find your unique blend. It is not good enough to be the regular Nescafe Blend 43. The aim is to be the Kopi luwak of the writing world.

Kopi luwak, by the way, is coffee beans collected from civet shit. These small creatures have "a long tail like a monkey, face markings like a raccoon, and stripes or spots on its body" and are (often force) fed coffee cherries.

A civet farm in Liwa, a town in Sumatra, where the catlike animals eat coffee cherries. Their droppings contain coffee beans fermented in their stomachs.Credit:Kemal Jufri for The New York Times

I'm all for complex metaphors and analogies, so I am not sure in this one if you are the civet and I'm feeding you the coffee cherries, or I'm the civet and you are the one picking through the mess trying to find the gem. If the latter, I hope you are reading this whilst wearing a pair of gloves.

The goal is to be known for something. David Perell is "The Writing Guy", Tiago Forte is "The Second Brain Guy", and Ali Abdaal is the "This-is-how-much-money-I-made-this-year guy".

Oysters begin life, floating around, going with the flow (literally). This was me, before taking Write of Passage. I wanted to write, but never had the confidence to put what I had written out there in the real world.

After a time (21 days, to be precise), the oyster grows a small foot to move to a hard surface.

Once the oyster has found its spot, it is known as a _spat_. It can take up to six months for it to become an adult. This is the point, in an online writer's life when they are publicly posting but not yet fully mature. This is perhaps the stage I am at.

The adult oysters spend their lives filtering water, akin to a writer reading widely. Writers must write about what they know, and reading is the easiest way of expanding their horizons.

Art, by definition, needs to have two components. The first is the intention of it being artful. A house painter doesn't paint with intention, whereas an artist does. The second is the need for an appreciating audience.

Writing in this 'spat' phase is full of emerging intention and a smattering of readers who are along for the ride.

Mature writing is when readers come across it and recognise the intent and can appreciate it. According to Perell, for most of us, this can "take five years to find..."

The thing about oysters is that once they find something worth obsessing about, they create pearls. This takes time. Lots of time.

So, sit back and grab a coffee. But please, wash your hands first. You've just sifted through a pile of civet shit.