About 7 months ago I set a Beeminder goal to write 750 words a day. Since then I have written 135,000 words!
When I set that goal I thought it would force me to write material for this blog on a more regular basis. While much of the material posted here has come from this daily writing I have found so many other topics that inspire my writing that I plan to continue this habit even if I stop blogging.
Have you ever been so angry you wanted to punch a wall or scream? The next time you are feeling this way try sitting down and writing about it. Some of my most cathartic posts have come from stream of consciousness rants about something or someone that is bothering me. Feel free to cuss, name call, insult, demean, whine, bitch. For once you don’t have to worry about the repercussions of throwing a tantrum.
Stories from my past
Do you have a couple classic stories that come to mind after a couple beers with friends? Sometimes I will be inspired to write a story about something that happened in my past. It is fun to revisit an old memory and I find that long forgotten details come back as I begin to lay the basic story line down on paper.
Dreams about the future
I do my fair share of dreaming about the future and what I would do if I had enough money not to work. Putting these thoughts down in words forces me to clarify my dreams and helps me realize how I can make those dreams a reality. It also helped me realize that I was needlessly placing my dreams in the future.
When I am traveling I am not inspired to write anything deep, reflective or meaningful. I don’t know if it is because my mind has checked out because I am on vacation or it is just exhausted from the action-packed vacations I normally take. Either way I find that I can only motivate to write a basic rundown of the day. Places we went, foods we ate, people we met, etc. While it doesn’t make for the most interesting writing it is nice to have a record of my trips to look back on later.
Thoughts on work
I am one of those people that has a hard time turning my “work thoughts” off once I am home and with my family. It can be really distracting if my mind is consumed with a particularly challenging project or a difficult relationship. By writing my thoughts down I am able to clear my head which allows me to focus on my family and get better sleep. It also has proven to be a great tool for inspiring solutions to those intractable problems.
This is my writing of last resort. If I can’t get inspired to write about anything interesting I will start detailing my day. In order to reach 750 words I will play a game of describing my day in minute detail. Sometimes I have reached my daily limit before I even get to preparing breakfast.
I think every person has there own set of heuristics (rules) that help guide their decisions. Writing daily has inspired me to start putting my heuristics down on paper and some of them have made it into this blog. I am sure that many will change over time as I mature and my priorities evolve but for now it is helpful to have a clear framework of what is guiding my decisions.
Reflections on life
When a rather ordinary event inspires interesting or new reflections on life I try to capture that moment with words. A couple months ago I was driving to work and texting on my phone when a women drove up next to me and wagged her finger at me. I felt shame for doing something so obviously dangerous for myself and for other people on the road. That incident inspired some great reflective writing and has inspired me to put the phone down while driving.
A couple weeks ago I wrote 3,000 words on the care and maintenance of cast iron pots. I actually thought I was going to post it on this blog until I started editing it and realized that it was boring, unoriginal and was 3,000 words on cast iron pots… Still, it is knowledge that I had accumulated over the last 10 years of cooking on cast iron pots and it felt good to write it down.
Track your progress
I have blogged about the value in tracking your progress towards your goals. I regularly write about challenges and successes I have experienced learning guitar and writing. I almost always learn more about myself through the process and am recharged to jump back into the process.
If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy: