Three months ago, I made a commitment.
In an effort to build good writing habits, I said I would post a blog entry every single day for 90 days. I told myself the substance didn’t matter–building the habit mattered. Some posts were brief, some were poignant, some were self-indulgent. For those willing to take moments of their day to pop in and follow along, I am eternally grateful for your time.
So on to the burning questions:
Did it work?
Am I now in the habit of writing not just for myself, but for others, every single day?
A resounding: Yes. You bet. Hell yeah.
I also can’t help but believe this process spawned my #52shortstories experiment which is greatly building on this habit and furthering my long-term goal of writing fiction for a living.
Let me share some things I’ve learned:
Time is there.
You just have to take it. It doesn’t have legs, so it won’t come to you (unless it’s asking for money). It’s also great at hiding itself: In the extra hour of sleep. In those moments you find yourself near the bottom of the social media gravity well. Maybe even booked for Very Important Things. But I promise you, the time is always there and you have veto power.
Time is precious.
Once you decide to take that time for your most important thing, make the most of it.
Whenever I was squeezed for time and forced to post something brief on the blog, I felt bad. Not to say there weren’t legitimate reasons for when that happened, but the lesson stands. If I’m not delivering 100% of myself to the task at hand, I’m doing myself and those around me a disservice. I’m wasting my time when I present myself the illusion of progress. I’m wasting my wife’s time when I tell her that I’m kinda, sorta writing, so I can’t give her my full attention. I’m wasting my boss’ time when I don’t dedicate an extra hour to solving a day job problem because I’m kinda, sorta working on that novel which will end up in the recycle bin.
Find your fire.
I don’t mean your passion. What the hell does that even mean? I don’t know about you, but my passions change by the hour. No, when I say “find your fire,” I mean the thing that’s going to burn your buns so bad that you have to get up to find relief. For me, when I reach the end of the day and realize that I have done nothing to move towards my long-term goal, I get pissed, depressed, and develop what my family would probably call whatsyourproblem-itis.
That’s my fire.
I came to the conclusion sometime in June that if I wasn’t committed to writing every day, I wasn’t going to get anywhere. At the time, I was dealing with other fear-related issues concerning my fiction, but I had less trepidation when it came to posting on the blog. So the answer seemed obvious and to segue off this whole idea of fear, I bring you my final lesson…
To lift an idea from Tim Ferriss, one of my sub-goals was not to become fearless but fear less. I could have committed to posting every day in my journal, but that would have taken away the public accountability. Knowing that I had told you guys I would do this was a prime motivator to stick with it. It’s funny how we’d rather disappoint ourselves than strangers!
In the end, many of the posts I thought were trite turned out to have some level of impact and vice-versa. The key is that I shouldn’t fear so much of what I’m going to write for others because I have little possibility of anticipating what will resonate.
So…with those thoughts firm in mind, the next big question arises.
Where do I go from here?
The habit seems to have taken. I write every single day just like I wake up every single day. It’s just something that happens (and for both of those habits, I hope continue to happen for a long time!)
To be honest, at this moment, the time I set aside for daily blogging can be better spent in other areas. It takes me at least an hour to put the average post together, sometimes longer. I’m sitting for an IT certification exam before the end of the year and I could really use that time to study. I have more time I can set aside for writing fiction. There always extra time to spend with the family. Or reading those books my blogging friends are cranking out. Or maybe just relaxing (imagine that!)
Still, I want to keep in some sort of regular touch with the online world I’ve encountered. I don’t want this blog to wither away like it has in the past, only to have to come by and clear out the cobwebs twice a year. And it’s not only for others, but I’ve found many of the posts useful for weeding through my own thoughts and engaging others.
Without a doubt, you guys will still get the weekly short story and process posts, but I’m thinking that for now, I will commit to a weekly entry with some meat to it. When that will happen depends on the schedule that week, but it’s something that I know I can do.
Until the next post, I bid thee a farewell and with a hope that you’ve been inspired to take on your own little experiment.