Whether it’s a natural part of my personality or a talent, I pick-up habits fairly easily. Currently, I’m tracking my fruit and vegetable intake, journaling, and “suiting up” for exercise daily. As a reformed perfectionist, I’m working to see this as simply information for future growth, rather than a report card of my worth as a human.
This habit tracking served me well when I first took up running. The discipline of running 3-4 times a week and building up mileage weekly carried me through my first half, all the way through my last marathon. Highlighting the box of the completed workout kept me motivated to lace up my trainers and complete those runs.
I’m hoping that the same ability to slowly build a habit over time will also serve my writing well. These past few weeks with the Write 28 Days Challenge, I’ve focused my writing on a similar path. Word by word, I’m building the habit. Writing and sharing every day felt like too large of an ask. Rather than failing at such a large leap, I reduced the goal while still pressing forward. Slowing down the rate with which I tackled the writing prompts would help me start with a slow easy pace and not burn out.
This past week, I joined Jon Acuff’s Overcoming Overthinking Challenge. A professional writer himself, Acuff helps other creatives turn down the voices of discouragement. Do the work in layers, he advises. Or in the words of Ann Lamott, write the sh*tty first draft and worry about cleaning it up later. Bird by Bird, borrowing from her popular book on writing, writers can build their story, one frame at a time.
This coming Saturday, I will learn from Ann Swindell in her Write with Grace workshop. Studying under others who have earned their success, I’m empowering myself to build and grow my writing habit. Add to that the journaling habit I started last month, and I’ve written every day for over 30 days.