Day 8: Always be reviewing.

Day 8! What a great day to reflect on how things are going so far.

I'm modeling this project on Explore, a guided writing practice designed by Erica Midkiff. Basically, she provided structure for a daily exploratory writing practice: Prompts, check-ins, with some intention-setting and progress-reviewing stuff too. At the end of the course, she gave us the materials to DIY another iteration of it, and I used those materials to set up my 100 Days project. Her process has a lot of reviewing built in: How did each day go? How did each week go? I tried it because I paid for the course and I like to get my money's worth, and lo! It's a great idea. Maybe doesn't make for the most riveting reading, but it's not my job to decide what you are interested in. It's my job to decide what I am interested in.

Here's what I originally wrote about the project:
I am exploring what it is like to write and publish daily for one hundred days straight. I will write on whatever topic I want. I will make this practice fit my life. I will publish every day at 5 pm. I will announce it everyday on instagram. I will collect names for a newsletter. I will let my cheerleaders know. I will channel the time-sensitive nature of performance and move boldly to the next day. I intend to give this my best effort. I intend to be gentle with myself. I intend to share myself with others fully. I want to feel like a conduit. I want to have community. I want to feel practiced, well oiled, ready to go.

Other than the 5 pm part (ha!) I feel like I'm on track here.

Part of me wants to build up a buffer of content for when I get busy. I have two pre-scheduled writing times with a friend and I'd like to try writing "extra" material in those sessions. THAT SAID: The time-sensitive nature of the experience is keeping my perfectionism down and my momentum up. Example: Last night I went to an event. I wanted to write about it, because I was interested and because it's a way to engage with a bunch of questions I have about my work. But I felt uncomfortable writing about it. I wanted more time. I didn't feel ready. I didn't have more time, so I wrote about it regardless--and now it's done. I wrote about it! It's not lingering on my to-do list. It's not a "should" anymore. I like the electricity and immediacy of writing and getting responses quickly. I like that this pattern enables me to hear what others think right away and to start incorporating that into my thinking. I feel like I'm getting a glimpse into Sarah Bray's whole "creating out loud" thing.

Relatedly, I'd like to start sharing this project a bit more widely. Partially just because it's uncomfortable, and partially because I want to have more conversations. Maybe I'll do a custom Twitter post instead of just the instagram cross-post. Maybe I'll start sending relevant posts to people whose ideas I'd like on the subject. Since writing this, I added a mailing list sign-up block on every page, so hooray for that! Next is setting up comments.

I'm encouraged by how much material there is available at all times. Today I woke up and thought: "Man, I have no idea what I'll write about today, nothing is happening." But here are all the ideas I can remember from today: Working out. Money management. YNAB. Wealth accounts. Drupal 8. Contactually. Easy, healthy lunches. This meta-review. The articles we talked about last night. The book I'm reading right now. Open source communities. AND SO ON. It's a lot easier to blog when you have literally no guidelines for yourself except your own interest in a subject. One day it's role-playing games and another day it's me crying into my keyboard about Prince. If I want to write about how great Drupal 8's editing experience is and you don't want to read it, I literally give no fucks. Don't like this weird meta-navel-gazing? Click the red X and try again tomorrow.

I'm encouraged that it is starting to feel natural. Once upon a time, many years ago, pre-livejournal, I kept a Diaryland diary (!). It was so good for my writing practice. I spent my idle moments thinking about how I would write about my day, and there's almost nothing that will make you feel like a Real Writer more than that. It felt awesome. That is the state I have been trying over and over again to get back to. I honestly wondered if I was just being a writerly Uncle Rico, eternally wishing I was still my young self, but I'm starting to feel that way again. I'm sure this honeymoon period will wane, and I'm already nervous about what I'll do when the hundred days are up. But for now it feels good.

Timing: I am, once again, doing most of my writing after everyone else is in bed. This was my old pattern, too. I love this dark part of night, when everyone is sleeping, and I'm half-working on a piece, half-listening to a song on repeat, trimming my split ends. The more I think about it, the more I realize how much this practice shaped my college experience. I might have been a pre-med major if I hadn't been so devoted to these late night writing sessions. At the time it felt like I couldn't get my shit together enough to take care of business, but in retrospect, I see I was taking care of business--I was protecting my writing time. I just didn't realize it. (Another tally in the "there's no such thing as lazy" column, but that is a different day.) I would read articles about writers who got up early, went for long walks, and were done with writing by noon. I tried to emulate them but I wonder now if that pattern makes any sense at all for me, personally.

Night-owl is not a pattern I'm in love with, though. I'm an adult, gotta pay my bills, hustle hustle, etc. All my hard-won sleep patterns are getting totally hosed by this project. But! I used to be stressed and unhappy about how much time my workouts took, until I realized that my life is 100% better when I do them. Once I truly believe a thing is improving my life, it magically worms its way into my routine. We'll find a way.


Hey! It would be useful to know what you're interested in. So vote for what you like!