Progress is Practice
I have been writing a bit.
I set a goal of 1,000 words a day on my computer. That was 150 days ago: September 23, 2014.
I didn’t hit the goal every day, its undulated considerably. Setting the goal and telling people about it put a flag in the ground. It gave me something to stand for. I’ve gone weeks out of practice. Things come up, I’ve been moving around and manage a schedule that reports to myself. I even went on a real vacation where I didn’t write a single word!
Each time I fell out of practice, I reached a point where I felt this burning need to write and jump back into practice. Maybe it was inspiration, maybe it was guilt, maybe it was my soul channeling my body to my personal legend. Once I’d decide to get back in, I’d fall into practice easily.
Sometimes it was all I did for the entire day. Sometimes it flows like a waterfall. Other times I’m pulling teeth that aren’t ready to come out. Sometimes when I sit down to write, I don’t want to write at all; I feel uninspired or like the space isn’t quite right. It doesn’t matter. I force myself because practice makes progress.
I’ve found the best time for me to write is in the morning, right after yoga, before I’ve done any other work. This is when the words flow most fluently. When I started writing 1,000 words, it would take me two or three hours. Nowadays when I sit down to write, 1,000 words appear on the screen in thirty or forty minutes. I’ll often write more, it feels fulfilling to smash past my own marker.
I’ve written 149,788 words on the computer. That’s how many words one might find in a 600ish page paperback book. I have also filled up 5 journal notebooks practicing stream of consciousness every night and 5 mini notebooks that I keep in my pocket with observations and insights about day to day life.
Even if no one reads it, that’s okay. The release of writing has been worth it. It gets emotional. I’ll be sitting in the middle of a cafe jamming away on the keyboard about life stories with tears racing down my face or random giggle fits, oftentimes both at the same time. This is the work.
Before, I found myself stressing a lot about structure and how its all supposed to come together. I felt this need to organize, to make chapters, to make some order out of all these words. I felt weird writing all willy nilly in the thick of the chaos. I scolded myself for lacking direction.
Now, I love it. I’m leaning into the chaos and letting it get even more chaotic. Sometimes I write about the most random things that seem like they don’t have a hope of being relevant, but its the practice that matters right now. Writing is relevant. The chaos is intentional.
All the people who advised me to just write and forget the rest were spot on. It’s served me well. Thanks.
I’m beginning to share more and learning how to integrate that into my daily practice. I participated in the Your Turn Challenge which was a 7-day nudge to publish something every day. I used to feel shy and unsure, like I needed lots of editing and refining; I was stretched to ship. I feel vulnerable, I still get nervous and insecure. It’s what I need though, practice basking in my vulnerability. That’s what being naked in front of the world is all about.
Looking forward, I hope to reflect more. I’ve been doing a lot of writing and this is a form of reflection. I haven’t been doing much reading though. I haven’t been synthesizing, I haven’t been sharing so openly. I needed to ground in a writing practice first. I am happy to report, I am a writer. I’ve got many words to piece together. I wonder if I’ll even be able to read my journals, it looks like I write in hieroglyphics.
I’ve got many more words to write. Writing a book is a numbers game. There’s a lot of words I write that are shit. They will never be used again, never shared, never published. They just needed to be released. The more writing I shit, the more chances I have of writing something that will empower the people I dream for (i.e. YOU).
When I sit down to write, I hear the sage voice of my friend and mentor Victor Saad, “Keep Going.”