How often do I tell myself I have to make the grand gestures, the life changing new years type resolutions that demand my oath sealed promise once a week and are by their very nature huge and undoable and inspiring AND have their place but – my life’s too busy, it’ll cost too much money, my family and friends are too demanding not to mention my job. I want to write? So write!
I once had a daily rhythm that included three writing practices; morning pages, sit for five write for five and an end of the day Gratitude journal – an hour or so in total for all three. I haven’t done all three in the same day for months…and I wonder why I’m unhappy, irritable and creatively depleted? Doh! says my inner Homer. Personally, I need to write like I need to eat and sleep and smile. It’s a basic demand of my overall wellbeing and my wellbeing and my ability to serve others is much compromised when I don’t write. I’ve read that a habit can be formed by repeating something for seven consecutive days, by which point it begins to become automatic, so…
Introducing a week of writing little and often. Why? Because I’ve hardly written over the last month. Why No. 2? Because I want to and I’ll enjoy it! Why 3? Because I’m a better/nicer person when I write. Why 4? Because I can!
How? By writing; a new post here EVERY day, a new Your Turn activity for YOU to do EVERY day, a new Sit For Five Write For Five EVERY day and hey, I may even add a new poem/song EVERY day…but that might not be a new one…seven delicious days of creative word induced immersive heaven. And within the every day rhythms of my ‘normal’ life. Hey, there’s the garden to weed, the dinner to cook, the clothes to wash, the food to buy, the accounts to balance, the money to earn and the people to call…and still I write!
But why do my good habits run out of steam? One answer is short term thinking, wanting to do all the urgent things before the important stuff and forgetting that there will always be a list of ‘urgent’ things and so the important stuff never get done and there I am on my death bed etc. etc. Introducing the three tier grading system of; urgent, Urgent Urgent and URGENT NOW NOW URGENT a.k.a life or death situation. If it’s just ‘urgent’ then honoring a personal promise to give myself one hour of writing time a day and postponing the ‘urgent’ task by 60 minutes isn’t going to make a difference – it gets done, and so does the hour of writing, and perhaps there’s not time to watch an hour of mindless TV at the end of the day or I eat a shop bought pizza instead of homemade lasagna.
Generally, when I want the truth I ask nature or a child. Rain – all at once or little and often? Those experiencing flooding in England right now will surely agree that little and often is far better than a month’s worth in 48 hours, which is downright destructive. Would a child prefer a daily unrushed cosy cuddle to start the day and a nightly bedtime story or two weeks of, ‘you will enjoy this expensive all inclusive sun, sea and sand annual holiday that I’ve worked my a*** off all year to pay for, which is why I’ve had no time to be with you and I’m tired now and all I want to do is sleep, eat and read a novel but hey it’s worth it, isn’t it?’
I would love to write seriously and solidly for a month but right now that would be like a casual jogger taking on a marathon. I need to build up my writing muscles, prove my dedication, if only to myself, and find out just how real my commitment is. Isabel Allende said write a page a day and in a year you will have 365 pages, a good basis for a book. Sure, it will need more work but it’s there, it’s real, it’s something you can play with. A year?! That’s forever! But is it really? This spring was barely a blink and summer’s good as over…where did 2012 part 1 of 2 go? There’s wisdom in little and often and slowly but surely. The tortoise knew it. Nature and children know it. Me and my fellow average adults perhaps need reminding…little and often.