Inspired by Seth Godin, I recently attempted a daily writing project. I committed to write one blog post every day, indefinitely.
Here are my reflections.
Writing takes time. Not the actual typing – that part is easy. But finding inspiration everyday is a serious commitment. It can take hours, and it can't be forced.
Sometimes opening yourself up to inspiration means sitting in a café reading a magazine, or going for a stroll through the park, or reading a book. Let's be real: I have a family and a job, I don't have time to wistfully wait in the bath for my eureka! moment every single day.
After a few months, I gave up. And when I gave up… I really gave up. I didn't write again until… well, now.
I've realised that, at least for me (and maybe for you, too?), trying to force a daily routine isn't the best way of falling in love with a habit or practice. I advocate for a different approach. Let's call it…
No Pressure Weekday Habits
I'll illustrate this habit-building technique with an example: Meditation. I love meditation, but I haven't always. At first, I only loved the idea of meditation, the practice took some getting used to.
All the books I read told me that it was vital that I meditate every single day for the first 3 months (a common trope among daily habit pushers). Other books told me to start with just 5 minutes a day (or write only 1–2 sentences, or run for only 1km).
That wasn't working. So instead, I decided to commit to the following:
Meditate for at least 30 minutes, but only on weekdays, and only if I feel like it.
In the end, I found that my intuition here worked wonderfully. It was the pressure of not missing a day which caused me to give up. It was the triviality of "small habits", that caused me to give it away. Now, I often happily meditate for 20—30 minutes, and I do so most days.
So, back to writing.
After a few days of writing every day, I started feeling stressed, worried, and overworked. Worse – the short posts were often uninspired or forced. That's not the sort of writer I want to be.
Instead, I'll be the writer who taps out a decent chunk of valuable content every single day.
But only on weekdays, and only if I feel like it.