Better to Write for Yourself…

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”

Cyril Connolly
New Statesman, February 25, 1933

Full disclosure: I did not discover this quote myself, but instead found it as part of Tim Ferriss’s weekly newsletter “Five Bullet Friday” from January 3, 2020.

So this is the first in my series of self-imposed daily writing blocks. Likely what I write at this moment will not, in fact, make it into the final post. But the point is to establish the habit, so here I am.

I feel that I have already found a bit of release in the process of writing, and also in the sharing of my thoughts. I find that verbalizing them and explaining them to some ethereal “audience” has helped to coalesce a lot of the ideas and thoughts I’ve had running around in my head.

It’s kind of like the moment I realized that I had been reading tons of books on meditation, I had been listening to podcasts with dharma talks from well respected meditation teachers on my commute to work, yet I hadn’t actually sat on the cushion for months if not over a year. The day I finally sat down I remembered what I had forgotten. Doing is the only way to gain the benefit. Similarly, I’m guessing that sitting down with a daily practice of writing for a half an hour each day will hold the key to some of the benefits I’m hoping to gain.

Persistence

I’ve managed to achieve several goals that required persistence. When I did P90X, it was certainly a level of commitment and stick-to-itiveness that saw me through to the end. I’m hoping to unlock a similar pattern and to see similar results. Obviously, sitting down and typing for 30 minutes each day won’t get me in “the best shape of my life,” but I do recall that many ancillary benefits of completing P90X were related to this persistence, and the satisfaction it provided when all was said and done and the goal was complete.

Consistency

The other twin weight is consistency. Now, this is where I failed when I began this journey back in December. If memory serves, my last post was actually entitled “Consistency Is the Key,” hilariously. I recognized it and still do, but ultimately, it comes down to taking action. Knowledge without implementation is useless. This is why I set my Birthday New Year’s Resolution as committing to writing for 30 minutes each day, and publishing a post twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays, no matter how terrible they may be. Only by establishing the habit of consistently writing can I ever possibly explore the potential benefits that may come from this habit.

Communication Skills

This may seem like I buried the lead talking about everything else before this, but ultimately, I’m hoping that the daily practice of writing will improve my…. well, writing. I used to write a lot when I was younger. Fiction, non-fiction, just let the words and thoughts carry me wherever the feeling took me. I long to recapture that feeling of joyful expression, regardless of what it was or what the product was like. I remember feeling completely at ease with letting words flow on to the page, and am looking to reignite that spark.

Beyond that spark, I am hoping to spray some literary WD-40 on my rusty and atrophied writing skills to improve my communication in general. Hopefully, by forcing myself to publish two stories a week, I will not only get back into the habit of putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys?), but also improve my ability to condense and tighten a line of reasoning or argumentation. It remains to be seen.

Consistency Is the Key

I swear this isn’t just a rip off of the title for @RyanHoliday‘s latest book (which I haven’t yet had a chance to read yet, but am so looking forward to); however, it is the truth for beginning to build a habit.

I probably picked one of the worst times possible to begin this new odyssey into blogging and writing (even if the main point is to begin by doing it for myself regardless of audience or lack thereof). I was heading off on a very long family vacation with very little downtime (even less than I originally thought possible) followed immediately by the holiday season, which can take on a life of its own.

I’ll be honest and say that writing this post is about the last thing I want to be doing after getting five hours of sleep last night (on top of four the night before and four the night before that…) combined with walking over 25 thousand steps today according to my Fitbit, and prepping for another day of doing pretty much the same if not more tomorrow.

BUT……if I’m really going to try to build this habit of writing consistently to try to improve the skills I’m trying to improve and seeing where it goes, tonight was probably the best shot this week, given the schedule we’ve got going forward.

That doesn’t mean this will be the magnum opus I’d love to present in blog form, filled with wit, humor, poignancy and prepped to go viral. In fact, this will end very shortly after this sentence.

The fact is, getting in the reps matters when you’re talking new habits, and this post is that rep. Not a great rep, but a rep nonetheless. And, sometimes that really reluctant, objectively terrible rep is what makes all the difference.