“Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.” — E.L. Doctorow
Breaking old habits and forming new ones is hard work.
Until about 3 weeks ago I wrote 3 or 4 posts a week. For the past 2 years it’s been a way for me to structure and express ideas I come across. It’s been a tremendously rewarding experience.
So, about a month ago I’m sitting in front of my computer feeling stressed. I’ve started an introductory course in psychology because I want to study it full time next year.
Studying has taken time away from my writing and now I’m staring at a blank screen hoping that I’ll get something, anything really, written.
That’s when it starts to dawn on me that maybe it’s time to allow myself to take a break from writing. Not completely, but to limit it to 1 posts a week instead of the usual 4.
I finish the week by writing about why I’m going to change it up, and as soon as I do a blissful serenity descends upon me. No pressure, all pleasure.
Now I’m 3 weeks into it and what I’m finding is that it’s hard to stop old habits.
I still want to write Monday through Thursday, but I only allow myself to write once a week. Ideas keep popping up, and I keep writing them down. I’ve made notes about things I don’t even remember. Interesting, yet kind of freaky.
On the flip side it’s hard to form study habits. It’s been almost 15 years since I’ve done any proper home work. Interesting to see how my brain has this severe aversion to studying all these years later.
Side note, why the hell didn’t anyone tell us about the Cornell method at school? Would’ve helped me a bunch back then.
There have been some consequences as well. The main thing I’ve noticed is a serious decline in the amount of opportunities coming my way.
Writing consistently opened up a lot of opportunities for me, and while they’re still there, not that many opportunities have come knocking these past few weeks. It really illustrates the power of consistency.
Doubt has been rearing it’s ugly head too, with questions like: “Am I doing the right thing?”, “What if I spend all this time studying and it doesn’t pay off?”, “What if I’m missing out on an incredible opportunity right now?”.
Yeah, that’s constructive.
In short, I’m in the middle of a process of change. It’s been hard to shake old habits, hard to form new ones, and there’s a certain amount of doubt involved.
When I look forward it’ll be easy to look back and say that I this thing or that thing, and it made all the difference. It’s a lot more difficult during the individual moments before you hit those points of inflection.
These are the moments when you try things out, learn what works and what doesn’t.
I don’t think there’ll be any “Eureka”-moment in my case, just a series of small adjustments and course corrections as I nudge my way toward future studies.