I started 2021 with a series of daily habits to do. Several of them flamed out by mid-January. One of the ones going strong is reading an obit a day. I was inspired by Austin Kleon who in his Show your Work book recommended the practice of reading obituaries daily.
I tried to get into the habit a few years ago but it never lasted. The reason was because I didn’t have a process to help me make the activity fun and keep me motivated. It is easy to get overwhelmed by sheer amount of daily obituaries.
I have one rule to tackle this; only select the daily obit from one of two sources: The Guardian (UK) or New York Times (US). Both give me a good coverage of notable and notorious deaths. I follow the obituary departments’ Twitter accounts for both papers: @guardianobits and @NYTObits. Every evening I scroll through them and identify one obit to read for that day. After reading the obit, I will select the most interesting quote and share it on Twitter with a link to the source material. This directs folks who come across my obit tweet to the obituary if they like the quote about the person.
Here are some of my personal favourite obit tweets so far: