There’s a certain momentum that builds up when you do something every day. Not only do you become more accustomed to keeping up the habit, but you think about it more, and you learn more about what you’re actually doing. If you break off that momentum, it can feel like you’ve lost a lot of progress, and returning to the habit can feel like starting it all over again.
That’s kind of where I am right now.
Have you ever tried to move an entire house within a week? Have you ever tried to do that while keeping up a blog?
It’s not easy.
And here’s the thing: With all that time away from the blog, I totally lost the head of steam I had going.
Thankfully, I found ways to keep my posting schedule going, but I stopped thinking about the blog, because it wasn’t the most important thing going on in my life. Moving was. Hauling all the heavy stuff with my friend in one day wiped me out completely and I even had to take a day off when my entire body seemed to have given in.
This also confirmed something I’d known about but had remained dubious of out of laziness: Whenever you’re being creative, especially if you make creativity a habit, then creativity comes easily.
In the context of this blog, it means sometimes I’ll write about something and make a point I might want to explore in more detail. Or maybe I’ll tell a personal story that jogs out another personal story. In fact, I’m still considering writing about the time my friend and I got kicked out of a bar…
As for writing fiction, a regular habit of writing (and editing and even reading sometimes) primes your mind for coming up with new ideas. The connections in your story begin to reveal themselves more clearly and you can see the individual plot threads and figure out where things are getting either too thin or too heavy. You might even get an idea for a completely new story while writing.
This is all just to say that forming good habits is important. Not just for writers, not even just for creators in general. Good habits create these shortcut pathways in your brain for when you need them, and they reward you with a shot of dopamine when you accomplish a task.
This could even just be a cleaning habit. If you come home from work and find a few things could use a little tidying up, it’s not hard to pick everything up and sit down and feel relaxed and accomplished.
But this only works if you’re already primed with the habit.
After a week of thinking minimally about the blog and focusing solely on moving boxes and furniture, it feels like I’m restarting, even though I’m definitely not. In fact, one of the shortcuts I used to not have to think too much about my blog may have just inspired a new good habit.
In my head, the pathways that have been built up over the past couple of months since this blog’s revival have been worn a little thin. The ideas I was all gung-ho about all look “meh” to me now, because the ideas were exciting when they came to me, and now writing them just sounds like work. I try to make every post on here, no matter how esoteric it might be on the surface, relevant to a wider audience, and it didn’t occur to me immediately how to do that with this post.
This has also led me to believe that maybe I should start posting three times a week. I feel like whenever I get my Thursday post ready to post automatically, I always just say to myself, “There, now I don’t have to think about the blog until Tuesday.”
But this is a bad habit. I mean, it’s good that I’ve been posting consistently two days a week, but three days a week would actually be a good habit. Plus, if Tuesday actually comes and I haven’t written anything yet, there might be an issue.
When I write more, I get more ideas. This is why I’m choosing to write more.
Part of this requires a solid plan. To get a decent post requires about three days. That sounds like a lot, but it’s really just a little bit at a time, and the first day is the most intensive.
On day one, I write the initial draft. This is usually pulled from a list of ideas I have lying around or it’s something that’s been burning in my mind for a week. Day two, I read the draft over and edit. I might rewrite it, extend it, or change its focus. Day three is usually the day of upload. This is where I make the final touch-ups and schedule it to be posted.
It’s a system that’s worked pretty well so far.
It means that if I’m going to post three times a week, the first drafts need to be written on Friday, Sunday, and Tuesday. This really isn’t that bad and I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before. Even though there will be some overlap, it’s not really a ton of work.
I know this was another meta post, but hopefully you found the value in it outside the context of the blog. In other news, I now have two new pages on the blog. I’ve added a welcome mat and a place to put my fiction. Check ’em out.