One week ago I decided to take the 500 words a day that I was writing for myself, and make them public. One week later, I’ve found a change in the way I write and what I write about.
Whereas before I wrote for the Day One app that I used to store all my daily notes, now I find myself writing for the web; and although I am not consciously editing my work, I am taking a little more care with the stuff I write.
I must say that I am a long way away from full blown editing of the written pieces and this shows in some of the content I’ve written. I have found that I am more willing to write content in advance – and in some instances I have felt inspired enough that I have written huge chunks in one go and given myself the time to edit it later. This is a blessed relief as I had two teeth taken out on friday, and it’s not been easy to cope with the continual bleeding and discomfort, which is sadly a natural part of having teeth removed when you’re on warfarin.
But, back to the point. I have considered what I’m actually achieving by writing 500 words a day, and so far the only reason I can come up with is that it’s a worthwhile exercise – a commitment that shows I can do regular work and not bow to the temptation to avoid it, or put it off.
It’s amazing what building up a commitment streak can do to your desire to keep writing; I’m amazed that I have managed to continue to churn out such volume over such an extended period. More so now that I am publishing this stuff on the web.
My original commitment was to build up the habit, and now it’s to sharpen my prose. When I started this a week ago, I had no idea if I were capable of writing decent quality words everyday, but so far I have surprised myself. I can only imagine (and hope) that my writing gets better over time. Still, the writing has to result in the means to an end. Despite all the projects I have promised myself would get off the ground once I have managed a better writing style, I have not yet done anything with them – it’s hard to say why at this point, other than just blame it all on procrastination, which sometimes feels like a handy excuse.
I’m still searching for the thing that I can do that gives me a sense of purpose outside of the normal work environment. I find it a little sad that I haven’t managed to locate it yet, despite quite a few years of searching; of course the thing I am looking for might well be there already and is sitting in the pile of great ideas waiting for me to shine the light of my attention on it. I really hope so.
While I enjoy my writing, that fact that I have to set myself a writing streak simply to do the words every day is a sign that I might not be as committed to the projects as well as I thought.