If I were to ask myself, what is the biggest task I regretted not doing during a day, the answer would almost always be writing. For me, that is because I classify it as optional. Some may say this means I am not a true writer, for a true writer MUST write; it’s not optional. To those people, I say your hyperboles only serve to discourage those of us who, some days, only have the energy to dream.
For me, I cannot be present as a parent or as a teacher if my mind is on what I think I should be doing instead of coloring dinosaurs or grading essays. Time interacting with my children and mentoring developmental writers is valuable. Sitting on the couch watching television with my husband is sometimes a necessary bonding experience.
As of now, without money or a large audience, my writing is only for me. However, this does not mean I should abandon it. I just need to be practical about what I can do. Initially, I thought I would challenge myself to write 1,000 words a day. Based on my research, though, I have learned that small, achievable steps are the best place to begin a lifestyle change. I know I can complete 30 minutes of writing a day, and this firm belief is going to make me more likely to succeed.
Also, 30 minutes over a 1,000 words seems better because output is not a routine. The idea of a habit is that it breeds expectation. Most of us begin our days the same way — for me it is coffee and social media. Once a habit is established, it is much harder not to do something, than it is to do it. My plan is to add writing to my nighttime ritual, which always ends with reading. Even if I do not get to bed until 3 a.m., I have a hard time sleeping if I do not read first
When I was an adolescent, journaling was a habit for me. Reams and reams of hurt feelings, crushes, and pep talks took up the entire space beneath my bed. I had to write my feelings down; it felt like a must, essential. Hmmm… I seem to be rewriting my initial claim. Maybe the idea that “writing is a must” is not hyperbole for some because it is a habit.
Let’s see if I can turn a want into a must, an optional activity into a habit…