You may have read a few weeks ago the post entitled, New Year Ramblings And Why I Must Write. I wrote about how I know that deep down inside my soul that I am a writer. I have always had the dream to be published in some way outside of a self-published blog. I love writing very much. Some have even said I’m pretty good at it. I find that hard to believe sometimes but, “HEY THANKS!”
A big thing I wanted to change in 2015 was that I wanted this to be the year that I truly became a writer. I want to spend far more time writing and I want my writing to get to more people. The funny thing is that I came to realize where my writing was falling apart. I was approaching writing the same way I see many people approach food and exercise. You want to change so desperately and that is not a bad thing but you are so motivated to change that you try to change way too quickly. For example, you say you will go on a “diet” and you will hit the gym 5 days a week and follow a routine that includes weight training and cardio. You follow your plan for a few days and it goes well. It is hard but, by golly, you can do this. #noexcuses. Then life starts to get in the way and slowly but surely (or perhaps not so slowly) you stop because it is just too hard. The change was too quick for it to be sustainable. How would I coach that person? I would assign one eating habit every week or every two weeks. We’d build on that one habit bit by bit until there is a new way of living. For exercise, we’d start with getting used to movement a few times a week. Whatever you love doing a few times a week is good. Once that is established you start working on more developed workout plans. As you work towards to change habits one at a time you are establishing true change that will be sustainable and will actually stick. It is slow, and sometimes hard, work. It goes against our fast paced society and its desire for a quick change or transformation. While such things can occur it is not normal and often falls apart eventually. No one likes slow change. But, the ones who slow down long enough to give it a try usually find that it works and that they are better for it.
All that being said, I have found that I was trying to take the quick approach to my writing. I automatically jumped to wanting to be published through my blog, articles, books, etc. when I wasn’t even in the habit of writing every day. What in the world? The ultimate goal would paralyse me because I was always waiting for the big inspiration to come and it never did. I read a quote the other day that said, ”
“If I waited to be inspired, I would be screwed.” -Neil Gaiman
How could I be a professional writer if I weren’t already writing on a consistent basis and how in the world could I even have content if I didn’t take the time to write everything down? It hit me suddenly a few weeks ago that if I really want to be a good, published writer I have to write every single day. You would think I would already know that but no one ever said I don’t struggle with stubbornness. So, I started coaching myself how I would coach a client seeking habit change. I told myself to forget the whole idea of being published and to just write every day. I started a document and named it “Ramblings” and I gave myself the task to write something, anything, every day. I was to write a page in the document every day to the best of my ability. It didn’t even matter what I wrote. It really was just ramblings most of the time. I used that document to hash out some ideas in my head. I used it to pray and to work through some emotions. Some of it was stream of consciousness and some it became blog posts. As the weeks flowed along and I was writing more days than not I realized that writing was actually coming easily. There wasn’t much writer’s block. I really did have a lot to say and write. I just had to sit down and start writing every day. It was a good feeling.
Then I came across a writing challenge that was along the same vein as my new habit. Write 1,000 words a day for 100 days. That would add up to 100,000 words. That is a ton!! I usually don’t jump on board with ‘challenges’ because that tend to go against the whole slow habit change process. You hit something hot and heavy for a short amount of time and hope it sticks. There is often good change but often-times it doesn’t stick when the challenge is over, assuming you actually finish it. I was hesitant about doing a writing challenge because I was afraid I would fall the way of most challenges. I would quit and then feel awful and even more of a failure. The difference this time was that I was already doing this in my own way. I had challenged myself that I would write a page every day. All the 1K words for 100 days would do is tighten it up a bit. Turns out that one page at the particular format I was using was right around 850 words. One Hundred Fifty more words wouldn’t be that hard to round out to 1,000. The previous personal challenge didn’t have very many parameters so it was pretty easy to skip a day. 1K words for 100 days gives me more motivation to sit down and write out 1000 words each day.
Here are my parameters:
- Write my 1,000 words every morning first thing.
- Write Monday – Saturday . Sunday is a free pass because I try very hard to not turn my desktop computer on and other devices are just too hard to write 1000 words on.
- Because I won’t write on Sunday, those days won’t count towards my 100 days. So, my time will go a little longer than a straight 100 days.
- I can’t accumulate words. So, if I write more than 1,000 words one day then those are bonus words. The goal is 1K words in 100 days, not 100,000 words total.
- Write 1K words and get a check-mark for that day. If I don’t get the check-mark then I have to add a day to my calender.
- Write! Write! Write!
You usually hear me talk about habit change as the key to sustainable improvement in our nutrition and fitness, but the same concepts work for other areas of you life. If there is some area where you want positive change break your goal down into achievable steps and work on those steps/habits one at a time until you have achieved your goal. And that includes learning to write consistently.
What is one area where you could use some habit changes??