One Day at a Time

When I started writing a few days ago I didn’t have much of a plan

I’ve always meant to write regularly, but I never could keep it up. I’d say it’s going well so far. I’m five posts in (including this one) and have another three partially written. My first post started out as a tweet, which turned in to an entry in DayOne, which I figured I might as well post somewhere. The second and third came from other conversations and the fourth from an experience that day. So why is this time different?

One issue might have been our tight quarters in Boston. With three people and a dog, there wasn’t much room to escape and be truly alone with my thoughts. The dog would bark, Sean would need help with something, or Steph would want to sit and chat. Even if I locked myself in another room, I would easily get distracted by what was going on just on the other side of the wall.

Unfortunately I’m also one of those people that easily loses their train of thought. Once interrupted, it can take me forever to return to whatever thought I had, if at all. I can’t count how many times I was writing something, even a short email, and a door would come swinging closed as soon as my mind was taken away from it. I don’t know where all those thoughts go, but I sure wish it was easier for me to get them back.

Another reason might have been the lack of home for my writing. I’m a bit of a control freak, and using default WP themes or a service like Medium wasn’t enough for me, even though it really should be. I also really didn’t have an excuse not to put a blog together. I’ve had a hastily hacked together portfolio site for some time, but each time I’d sit down to add a blog, I’d find myself redesigning the whole thing and eventually giving up after feeling overwhelmed.

This time I gave myself strict rules, no re-designs and I was only allowed to touch the actual post template and anything else I happened to break in the process. This allowed me to concentrate and just get it done vs all the times I burnt out on giant reworks before. Even better, after I had a few real posts I could see where it needed tweaking and even work up an archive template. It’s surprisingly easier to take it on in small, iterative chunks, than all at the same time.

Lastly, setting a specific goal for writing has always stalled me at the gates. I could say I’m going to write every day or every other day but what if one day I don’t have anything to say? What if I have a week of writers block? All that work to keep a streak will be for nothing. The reality is breaking a streak isn’t the end of the world, as long as you pick it back up before too long.

Yesterday my friend Alex asked if I was planning on publishing daily or if that’s just how it’s fallen so far. As much as I’d love to look back a year from now and say I wrote every single day, I’m not setting that goal, or any goal. I’m just taking it one day at a time, allowing myself to write when I feel like it and hopefully it’ll become a habit.

This is actually how I approach a lot of life. I might have a long term goal, but short term I just take on each day as it comes. I don’t make actionable lists, I don’t set daily or weekly goals, and I don’t track my progress. This goes against almost all the advice out there but, none of that advice ever worked for me. I’d become too overwhelmed, too worried about what might happen if I failed, instead of concentrating on the available time I had in front of me. Maybe I do have a resolution for 2015 after all, to keep doing what I’m doing, one day at a time.