It’s ironic, for me at least, that after posting about the difficulties of the writing habit, that I should just bump into not one but two interesting posts on habits and writing. Ben Yu posted yesterday on Habits, explaining how he had an unbroken record of posting twice a week until travel put a serious dent in this effort. Really worth reading if you are struggling with building any habit and I’d like to quote from Ben :
“For anything that we wish to do, we must make the effort until it becomes effortless, and it is precisely through that effort that effortlessness will rise.”
Music to my ears and I am waiting for this effortlessness to rise within me.
And then I read another post of similar vein by Nathan Kontny entitled During. Nathan talks about how he wasn’t growing any audience, how he gave up and then how he changed his mind based on a commitment he decided to make. Great stuff.
Granted both these posts are about building habits around writing regularly, but this can apply to any habit you’re trying to create, can’t it?
I have to say, their comments really resonate with me and consequently, strengthened my resolve to post daily. Being a pretty private person, I have to confess that laying it out here like this, and walking everyone through this journey, really goes against the grain for me. But it is in this very act of putting it out there, that I hold myself accountable.
So I am working also on how I can support this habit. Intent is not enough and just sitting down to write every day can be a nightmare. Thoughts come to you throughout the day, and I bet that there is a fair bit that you feel that you can expand on. But if you dont have the ability to make a note about it at the time, to reference it somewhere until you get to your desk, then it gets lost. Trying to recollect four hours later rarely helps, I find. So, have pen/paper with you at all times – the electronics help but hey, so does the good old-fashioned notebook.
Someone recently said you should have an editorial calendar as well – a sort of sifting place where you can store all these random thoughts or ideas you want to get out there. Keep them in one place and then you can refer to it. You simply cannot expect it to flow when you are ready to write. Too much time is then spent on working the flow instead of on the writing itself – both of which take time and effort to complete.
So, there you go. Another tick in the box. For today at least.