Write 500 Words a Day

As I mentioned in my last post, I decided to switch things up this new year and have a new resolution every month. To kick things off, I chose to write 500 words a day for the month of January.

In the past I've had difficulties putting my thoughts on paper. I've had no shortage of thoughts I wanted to be heard, but I never followed through with actually writing them down. I was always quick to write myself off by saying "I'm a horrible writer" for as long as I can remember. That said, I don't know if I ever really tried. Besides, even if I was a horrible writer, what I failed to recognize is that writing is a skill, and ALL skills can be learned with practice and persistence.

When it came to writing 500 words a day, naturally I wasn't perfect. In fact, not even close. Cumulatively, I missed roughly an entire weeks worth of writing. It much more difficult than I expected, and not for the reasons I expected. The most difficult part of the process was actually just sitting down and committing to writing.

Once I got over the initial hump of sitting still long enough to write, 500 words wasn't a problem at all. After all, it was only 500 words. The point wasn't to set a goal to challenge myself, the point was to explore the possibilities of how a different habit could affect my life.

How do I feel about the past month? What did I learn? Well for starters I discovered it's more difficult than I expected it would be to create a daily habit for only 30 days. I know creating habits is no joke (side note: if you find habits fascinating, you MUST read Charles Duhigg's The Power of Habit if you haven't already), but I didn't think 30 days would be as challenging as it was.

Writing doesn't come easy to me (at least without a couple of drinks). I quickly realized that I was constantly getting in my own way. My brain appears to constantly be in what I call "editor mode", and I presume many others have the same issue. I find myself critiquing and discarding ideas before they are fully explored. Clearly not a good habit. 

My almost-daily writing has already begun to help break that habit. In the right setting, it's becoming easier to dial back the editor in me and let my thoughts flow. Half of what I write may not make the final cut, but it's necessary to get to the good stuff. 

I plan to continue writing, though without the strict regime. Only good can come of it, and the more my writing is improved the more efficient I will be at communicating my ideas (both in writing and in person), which is increasingly important as I begin to cut back on freelancing and venture more into creating my own products.

For the month of February my resolution is to stretch for a minimum of 20 minutes every day (in one continuous session). I'm on the computer for several hours almost every day, and over the past couple of years my body has really begun to feel the effects.