☆ March 14, 2016
I’ll tell you why I gave myself this challenge. I needed (wanted) to get back the rhythm and habit of writing every day. Strict deadlines force my ego to get out of the way – if I’ve committed to sharing something every day, I do not have time to analyze and overanalyze and reanalyze if what I’m putting up is good or who and how it might offend. The only way I could stick to my commitment was to ignore those questions, ignore the ego, and just be quick and dirty and real. This four week exercise got me out of the habit of caring whether what I was doing was good or if it would offend. I desperately needed to break that habit – particularly, in order to move forward with another book. I had to stop caring about the quality of a first draft. A first draft that sucks can be improved; a first draft that never gets completed due to perfection paralysis is just dead.
After surgery, and after getting my meds and supplements regulated to a point where I could do more than blob in bed half the day, I made myself go out on walks in the BLM every day. I didn’t particularly feel like going on those walks because I was still weak and had gotten out of shape. But I made myself go out each day, and I didn’t judge the quality of the walk. I didn’t get down on myself if the walk was really short, or really slow, or if I walked for ten minutes, sat down in the sagebrush for thirty, and then walked home. By doing it every day, no matter how poorly, I got better. The key, for me, was not focusing on how much endurance I had lost, and not caring how drastically my present self paled to my past ability. I started looking forward to going out on those walks, to being out on those walks; they became a highlight of each day, a happy habit. And now they’re filled with hills and sprints and I’m in better shape than I was before surgery.
I wanted to do something similar with writing. To do it, without self-judgement. To get into a happy habit, in service to a new book. And it has worked! I’ll be tapering off a bit, here – still posting regularly but not daily, also in service to the book. Thank you for the notes, comments, and emails. They – you – matter to me, a lot.