I have been writing for many years.
When I first decided to put pen to paper, or keystroke to screen, as most writing is done nowadays, I gave a particular challenge to myself, write one post per week.
It didn’t seem like too much of a challenge. A minimum commitment of a few hundred words. One poem, short story, or beer review. One thousand words about an influential album. A short thought about the state of human beings.
And for a long time, I met the challenge, and in most cases I exceeded my goal, writing two and three times per week.
After a time, hundreds of weeks in fact, I became more intrigued by different pursuits and topics. I hiked a lot more. I pursued relationships. My energies were pulled in different directions. I did not completely lose interest in writing, but my feverish pace of creation and dictation slowed. I found myself wondering if I had visited all the topics that interested me. I questioned at times, whether I had enough of interest to say. I had ideas, and then found ways to distract myself from writing them down.
Essentially, the act of writing became more and more difficult. Its not that I forgot how to do it, I simply fell out of the habit of doing it with regularity. And just like any skill, in order to maintain proficiency, consistency, and even creativity, the act must be nurtured and practiced regularly. Actually, it doesn’t even have to be a skill that needs to be executed regularly, it could be something as simple as taking fifteen precious minutes in the morning to breathe deeply, and have silence, in order to approach your day with minimal stress. It could be the act of exercise. Don’t do it for an extended period of time, and it is harder and harder to make yourself go to the gym, or even do something at home. It can even been seen in our dietary choices. Eat a consistently poor diet, and you find yourself gravitating less and less to fruits and vegetables.
The take away is actually twofold. Don’t maintain a regular routine of a particular hobby or skill, and one finds it harder and harder to restart that action, or to weave it back into ones routine. And secondly, once the routine has been broken, a new one has necessarily started. For our time is finite, and if we fail to use it in the pursuit of something productive or creative, it will be consumed through other activities.
Think carefully on what you receive for the trade off of your time.
Did I play my guitar more when I wrote less? Did I exercise more during the times I wrote only one blog per month? Did I read more, when I was not writing? Did I gain anything from binge watching that show, instead of taking a walk? Did I learn about a new writing technique, or did I gain a few levels playing a video game?
I don’t think my trade-offs for writing have been terribly beneficial of late. And while I may not offer one article a week, as I have in the past, I’ll set a new goal, that of consistency, at least for myself.
Because it doesn’t always matter how much you do of something in a given day; what matters is that it is done. What matters, is the routine.
Even if it isn’t always good content, at least it will be more than what is on a blank page.
I’ll write my two crappy pages every day.