Those of you who follow my blog regularly probably have noticed that I’ve been posting frequently, once a day every day this month to be exact, with 12 more days to go. I don’t know what my longest daily streak was prior to this month, but I’m pretty sure that in the 17 (!) years I’ve been blogging, I never posted more than two or three days in a row.
I decided to give it a go last month while I was doing 31 days of watercolors as part of Inktober. It was my third daily project, including my 365 days of photography in 2015 and my one second of video a day last year. All three of those undertakings were about playing with visual storytelling using modes of expression that felt new to me.
I never really considered doing a daily writing project before this month. I’m more or less comfortable with my ability to express myself through writing, and I haven’t cared enough about getting better to practice more intentionally. I’m also reasonably comfortable with my ability to think out loud through this and other blogs, as the more than 800 posts on this site indicates.
However, muscles atrophy with disuse, regardless of how developed they once were. For whatever reason, I’ve found writing hard to do the past few years, and this year has been the hardest. I’ve also been disinclined to think out loud, even though I’ve had a lot I’ve wanted to say and share, both personally and professionally.
I have loved the impact that my previous daily projects have had, and for the first time, I wanted something similar for my writing and blogging. Eighteen days in, it’s definitely having the desired effect and even a few bonuses. However, it’s also been a very different experience from my other projects.
It hasn’t been stressful. I’m not worried what anyone thinks, and I’m not trying to prove to myself or anyone else that I know how to write. On days when I have a lot to say, I say it. On days when I don’t, I find something simple and short to share. Because I don’t have any ulterior motive other than to do it, I don’t spend any more time writing than I want to on any given day. If I want to say something skillfully, but can’t find the words, I don’t bother saying it.
It hasn’t been joyful, either. I haven’t felt any great satisfaction about anything I’ve written, although there are few things I’m glad to have captured. And I haven’t had any major epiphanies through the writing process.
What it’s been doing is helping unlock whatever has been inside of me. I’ve been precious about sharing what I’ve been thinking, not wanting to say them unless I can say them well and feeling paralyzed as a result. I’ve also found it overwhelming at times to try to blog. I guess things are crazy in the world right now, and it’s not only affecting my mental health, it’s hard for me to make sense of it all.
Blogging as a practice has reminded me not to be too precious. The less I try to say, the less overwhelming I feel. The more frequently I share, the less I have to worry about saying it all in one piece, which makes it much easier to write. Plus, even though I don’t think I’ve shown it yet, I’m starting to remember what it feels like to write well. I’m rounding into shape again, which always feels good.
Last week, I published a piece on the Faster Than 20 blog for the first time in months. It wasn’t a coincidence. I recently felt motivated to revisit a piece I first started writing four years ago, gave up, and tried again two years ago, only to give up once again. Maybe I’ll finish it this time. Time will tell.
The biggest surprise has been that sharing regularly has helped me re-engage with my broader community. I didn’t think anyone really followed this blog anymore, and because I’m rarely on social media anymore, the algorithms seem to have decided I’m not worthy of most people’s feeds. Still, some people are paying attention to what I’m saying, and getting to hear from them has been a treat and is also motivating me to write more.
Daily practice is an amazing thing. So simple, so obvious, so useful.