Postception and Next steps: 100 days of writing. | Day 100 of 100
This hundred-day challenge has been such a great way to explore a new hobby. As alluded to in my post a couple of days ago writing has become a cornerstone ritual of my day, being a soft-focus and diminuendo to each iteration of a groundhog day-esque COVID lockdown. That being said though, it's not been plain sailing at all.
For the UK readers, you have probably noticed how late I post. This is entirely my choice, but I think it has stemmed from some procrastination around the day 50 mark. You see it's not so easy in this lockdown era to dream up something worth writing and reading. One of the things I was excited to see when starting this streak was “What will you write when you think you have nothing left to write about?”. A bit like training to endure. My theory being that once I have 'ran out of things to write about', I will be forced to be creative, or reflect, or have an introspection session, all of which are aspects of my life I would like to improve. Forcing weird posts about Kingfishers and the cold for example. The one hard-rule I gave myself was: “you must post everyday before ending the day (including Christmas day), no exceptions” and one of the main soft-rules I gave myself was: “don't do cop out meta posts (posts about posting) until your last post of the challenge”. Postception if you will. But here we are, the first and only postception of this 100-day streak.
What have I gained from writing a blog post everyday for 100 days?
I have gained a sense of community again online. My fellow writers on read.write.as are all doing their thing, on their own space of the internet, and it's up to you as a reader to take it or leave it. In more mainstream social media this isn't the case, there is a constant bombardment of things you're not actually that interested in and it's all designed in a way to make you consume more of it, throwing perceptions out of balance. For this 'old school' but 'clean' approach that write.as and fediverse has, I am very grateful.
I have become better at constructing and articulating my own thoughts. To be honest, this was a skill that was only ever practised in the workplace, for work subjects. The expansion of this now into my personal life has allowed for a bit of clarity and getting less bogged-down in the 'what-if'.
I have come to appreciate the small things more. Perhaps this is in conjunction with not being able to do much because of the lockdowns, but being able to see, appreciate and remember the small things is something I have not been good at since being a teenager. Almost like the stresses of adulthood hammer it out of you. For example, when was the last time you ran to something you were excited about? Kids do this all the time. They know instantly what makes them happy, and embrace it wholeheartedly. In seeing and recalling things in my day which have sparked a thought to then write about, it makes you recognise the power of 'small things'. I have never been good at engineering these 'small things', thinking that some people have a knack for it and I am not one of those people. But as with most things, I think this is a skill to be honed and writing has started a path for me to get better at not only recognising 'the small things' but also sharing the small things with others. Maybe a spontaneous gift, maybe just telling someone you appreciate them. It sounds underrated, but showing someone you're thinking of them in these small ways actually has a greater impact than I appreciated.
What have I found difficult?
Writing posts at 1am! Why oh why did I ever think leaving my writing until the last thing before bed was a good idea. On days where I didn't have a pre-meditated subject of something to write about, I would always have a late night. This is because I would procrastinate from 10.30pm onwards without fail. Around day 60 though, I started to realise what I was doing to myself and that it wasn't good! So I went for a bit of a brute force method for writing. Which is in line with the just do something approach, but also reinforces the content in my post: Boredom is a creative catalyst. Which essentially involved me switching off all music, distractions, closing all tabs, and staring at the blinking cursor until words flowed from my fingers.
No matter what though, I would always post something. In doing so I would always have a sense of accomplishment no matter what the day had thrown at me. Whilst variety is the spice of life, and I think we should all strive for flexibility in our lives so we can embrace more novel variety, I have seen a great value in keeping a constant to help lessen the 'troughs' we encounter.
What are my favourite posts?
This is a question I have been asked a few times by friends throughout this process. So there are three below, in no particular order.
This was the post that started the seneca series but also has helped the effective expenditure series, which I will be adding to. I really enjoyed reading more philosophy in 2020 and is a genre I will continue to read and appreciate into the future.
Seeing that nowadays our money is more like a vote for what we want our world to become rather than just a tool for transaction, I think posts like this hopefully help inspire a bit of change at an individual level. After all, as in De Brevitate Vitae, why spend all your time earning your money and squandering it away if you're not going to use it effectively?
These are the types of posts I planned out in advance, which are a bit more researched. Posts like Self-deceit and success fall into this category too. Because the posts had an additional extended research aspect to them, I enjoyed curating them a bit more. They felt less like a mind-splurge and more like composing some music, learning along the way.
Whilst daily writing has been a great exercise, I feel the balance of my evenings are now too heavily weighted to writing. In order to diversify my free time, I am going to reduce how much I post on this blog. That being said though, I will be putting my newfound skill and love of writing to good use in four writing-related outlets.
1. Continued 'small posts'. I have really enjoyed being able to post what I like on the internet and have a small audience that reads along. It helps me concatenate my thoughts and contribute to a feeling of creation. So these will continue, just not every day. You will be able to recognise these as I will likely continue with the numbering convention, so the next 'small post' will end with ' | Day 101 of 100' etc.
2. The return of longer posts. As you can see from my favourite posts above, I enjoy spending a chunk of time researching and writing. Though this is not possible daily for me currently, I would like to post something slightly longer form (and hopefully more interesting) roughly once a week. You will be able to recognise these posts as they will not have the numbering convention as above.
3. Creative writing outlet. This is not something I am ready to share on here just yet, but as I progress I might keep you posted. Otherwise, I will share the end result when it materialises. This is a long-term project so don't expect anything on this soon!
4. Exciting new website! Again, not quite ready to share the context but I think this should be ready to share within the next 30 to 50 days. As I am pedalling this side-project alongside working full time, the progress is slow but it is still progressing. Rest assured this blog will remain, but I will very much enjoy welcoming you to this new site once it is ready!
If you have made it this far through this post you really are a true reader and fan! So give yourself a pat on the back and know that I appreciate you for reading this post and the previous 99 posts! I hope you have enjoyed coming along for the ride as much as I have. If you have, consider subscribing via email. As you now know, your inbox won't be spammed on a daily basis, and who knows, you might even like it! Without knowing that there is an audience I probably would have gone to bed on one of those 1 am writing nights and we wouldn't be where we are now. So thank you, and we'll speak soon...