I’m really tired.
Taking on the challenge of writing every day has been surprisingly exhausting. If I didn’t have a day job, I think the challenge would have been slightly easier, since I would have an open schedule to work with. Instead, I got up this morning at 3:30 so I could make it to work by 5:00. I got home at about 2:30 after fighting traffic for 25 miles and stopping off to pick up my dry cleaning – so I’ll have something clean to wear tomorrow when I get up at 3:30 to do it all again.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m very thankful for my day job, but it has just come to the point where it is strictly a means to an end. It’s a source of a paycheck until I can do what I really want to do, and make a living doing it.
Which brings me back to why I’m tired.
Yesterday I wrote about choosing inaction and the fear of failure over action and the chance of failure. I finished writing that post at around 10:00 p.m. last night. When I finished, all I really wanted was to have some down time before bed – just plop down in front of the computer and watch a movie with my wife.
But we were both gassed, and I had to get up early – so we went to bed.
No decision is without some measure of consequence, and the consequence of my decision to write consistently is that I’m, well, tired.
The other consequence is that I’m much more productive now than I was before I started. I’m writing every day, and even if nobody reads what I write (yet), I’m exercising my creative side in ways that were being completely neglected before. I’m building a habit that will move me closer to my goal of writing full time.
Which is the whole point.
John Muldoon has a fantastic website focused on the process of building new habits, one small step at a time. John proves it can be done by taking on a new lifestyle experiment every month. He’s interested in redesigning his life in small bites, and he’s there to help others do the same. By doing something regularly for a month, you establish that practice as a habit – and it becomes part of your normal; your new reality.
John helped me to realize that if you want success, don’t worry about the end game. Worry about the habits you need to establish to get to that end. If you want to be a published author, figure out first what you need to do to get just a few words on paper (or screen). If you want to drop 100 pounds, figure out first what you need to do to lose just one.
Then repeat the process until it becomes a habit.
The end game will get closer with each small step you take. Just don’t forget to take the steps.
When I finished my post last night, I had no idea what I was going to write about today. I knew I was going to be tired, and that I would have to balance writing time with my family and my day job. What I didn’t do was allow those considerations to bother me yesterday. Instead, I waited until today after work, when I woke up from a ten minute nap. I forced myself to get out my laptop and sit down. Then, as I sat staring at the computer, drawing a complete mental blank and wanting to quit, I decided to listen to my wife.
“Push through,” she said.
I love my wife.
She knew I was tired. She also knew that I didn’t need to become a published author in one post. I just needed to complete the one post. To continue taking the necessary steps to get to my own personal someday.
You can do it, too.
Want to publish a novel? Write a sentence. Then a chapter. Keep going until writing is your normal behavior. Keep taking those small bites.
Today is the tenth post in my Write Every Day personal challenge. That’s ten steps toward my goal – and ten days ago, I hadn’t taken any of them. If you had asked me to write ten blog posts, I may have come up with a number of good excuses why it was too big a job – but taking them each on their own, the task became much more manageable.
Can I get another ten? A hundred? Three hundred?
I’m not worried about that.
Because I know that tomorrow, I only have to get one.
If you’ve been waiting for another installment in the Mind Map experiment series, I haven’t forgotten. I’ll return to it this weekend when I can devote extra time to tinkering with the two programs.