One week ago, I committed to writing every day for the month of June. And to get a sense of accountability, I do the writing on this blog. One week has passed and so far, I have written every single day. It feels like a good time to look back at this one week.
These were the posts for this past week:
- June 1 - A new beginning... sort of
- June 2 - Why write
- June 3 - Thinking into a subject
- June 4 - Two different looks at sparking creativity
- June 5 - Digital Insurance
- June 6 - The journey is the destination
To experienced writers, it may not seem like a big deal: writing something, no matter way, every day for a whole week. I found it quite a big task though. Some of the positive experiences of this week:
- Everyday that I write, adds a little bit of confidence for the next day.
The first few days I could "think ahead" and figure out what I would write about. But after about the 3rd day, I started to struggle and was doubting myself: It all seemed unimportant to write about. Who would want to read it? And I even asked myself why I was doing this? That last question in particular seemed stupid to me, as I had just written a post with that exact same title. But, after day 5, I started to get a feeling that I could trust myself bit by bit, that I would come up with something. Not that that may be of interest to anyone, but that is not why I am doing this. The goal is to develop a habit of writing.
- Writing everyday, made me more aware of how I spend my day.
On day one it all seemed like "trying", and I had not proven to myself that would actually be doing this. And although this challenge is nowhere near the end, it feels like I already surprised myself that I have kept it going for a week. But because something needs to be written everyday, I am more aware of what I do during my day. I do not (yet) have a fixed moment that I sit down to write, but as long as I have not written yet, the day's events somehow get more attention in my head. As if I am looking into an experience or activity to see if there is something I would want to write about. Is this what is meant with mindfulness? Whatever it is called, I notice more awareness in what I do and how I do it. Also, it has started influencing the decisions I make: is it worth writing about? If the answer is "absolutely not", then the next question is "is it worth doing at all". In one or two occasions, that meant I did not do whatever it was, I was about to do.
- This week has forced me to study writing (a little bit).
Like I wrote yesterday; in every project I do is an element of something I do not know enough (or anything) about. That gives me an excuse to look into it and study the subject. With writing however, I have never done that. Subconsciously, I think I did not find that necessary as I know how to spell (typo's excluded). But that is not what writing is about. So, after a few days I started searching the web, and although I have no structured way to read or learn about it, every bit of information adds to the end result. I cannot say it has influenced my writing yet though.
- It requires a distraction free environment and a lot of focus.
That is a tough realisation; although I have blocked many notifications on my phone, tablet and computer, that does not guarantee a distraction free environment. But, everyday I figure out how to focus a bit better and how to prevent myself from getting distracted. The peace and calm that arises from that moment of focus in a calm environment leaves a positive after-effect several hours after I finished the post. If I have written first thing in the morning, it has left me with a calm and focussed start of the day. When writing at the end of the day it means a cleared mind, ready for bed. Both are very nice experiences.
- I have overcome my first writers-block.
Thanks to my wife. On day five I had been struggling in my head to come up with something to write about. I had been sitting at the computer already, but for whatever reason, it just did not work. That's when my wife suggested I go lie in the hammock, take the iPad with me and just relax. Sure enough, as soon as my mind relaxed, some ideas started coming, and it eventually lead to the 'Digital Insurance' post.
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And some aspects of it that could use improvement:
- This is by no means a habit yet.
Some days I have the writing done early in the day, or I just come up with something, type it in and it's done. Other days I struggle to find the time to just sit down and think about writing. I have not developed a writing routine yet, there is no fixed moment I do this. I have written at 6am after waking up and doing a few minutes of meditation (something I would love to learn as well, that's for another challenge though). I have also written just before going to bed. And many moments in between. I think developing a routine moment in the day to block and spend on writing, will improve the writing as well as the confidence further.
- I write, but the skill could use a lot more dedication.
That means that even though I have written everyday, I do not have a clear idea of what my writing style should be. There is no style or method that makes me comfortable writing, nor do I have the mechanisms in place to reflect on what I have written and figure out what to change next. That could use some more attention and more studying writing.
- So much to do, so little time to do it in.
Adding the everyday activity of writing to a schedule already filled with a job, a family, being a musician and a maker, means it sometimes conflicts with the requirements for focus and a distraction free environment. If writing something becomes an item on the to-do list that needs to happen quickly, it does not work and I get frustrated by that. Realising that that is the way it works for me is a first step towards improvement, but I find it hard to find the focus on very busy days.
So, that is it for week 1. Just a bit more then 3 to go, I wonder where I will be at the end of this month.
Image credit: Diana Robinson