If you’ve read any of my blog this month, you may have noticed that I set a challenge for myself: to write something every single day. With the exception of two days where I found myself, late in the evening, too exhausted to write something new and so posted something I’d written previously, I managed to come up with something to write about for the entire month of February (including this bonus day!).
But why on earth did I even set myself up for such challenge? Really, the whole thing started with yoga. After a couple years of doing yoga twice a week at my local (fabulous) yoga studio, I decided to do a daily 30-day yoga challenge at home, which led to another 30-day yoga challenge, which led to me doing yoga at home every single day for the last, approximately, 130 days. I discovered that challenging myself to do something every single day was extremely satisfying. Whatever you did that day, you’d know that you also had to do the one thing you did every day (at first, just yoga) and you could arrange your day around that or somehow manage to fit it in, but it was a way to feel accomplished every single day. Which honestly is exactly what I needed (I tend to write things like “eat lunch” on a long to-do list just to set myself up for success).
So then I decided to try another daily challenge and writing seemed like just the thing. My writing on this blog definitely slowed down over the past year because it was so much easier to listen to the voices in my head (“Nah, no one wants to read about that,” “This has totally been done before,” “Maybe I should save that to publish somewhere else”) than to just forge ahead anyway. But this month I decided to forge ahead anyway. I had no idea if I would be able to come up with a new topic every day or to say something interesting or funny or important (this is seriously the stuff I think about), but I figured I’d give it a shot. I get so caught up sometimes in what to write about or who I should write for or who even cares that I’m writing at all that I forget that writing is about doing the work.
And so, I did the work. Some days were easier than others. Some days the topic for my essay just came to me in a flash and other days it was a long slow simmer. I was either inspired by the photos I took or felt constrained by the photos I took. Then, at one point, I decided that the photos I was taking (simply because I like taking pictures) didn’t really have to have anything to do with what I was writing about. And so, at a certain point, they just weren’t, which felt completely freeing. I had to be reminded that it was my blog actually, that I could call the shots.
Another challenge was writing so much about myself. This, as an essay writer, is something that I think about a lot. Such things as, Oh jeez, no one wants to know about that. Or even, I don’t want to write about that. Have you read those personal essays (I’m sure you have if you have read a personal essay in the past couple of years) in which the writer pretty much slices open his or her (usually her) wrists and bleeds all over the page? I’m not really a fan of reading that type of writing (well, okay, I do enjoy hate reading it sometimes) and I definitely don’t like to write like that. Some writers find writing about the same painful topic over and over again cathartic, but I tend to find it a little, shall we say, tedious.
And so, here I am, at the very end of February. It’s been quite the thrilling (and sometimes exhausting) month, having to do yoga and write a blog post every single day. Going forward, I will probably not write a blog post every day (I mean, jeez), but I do plan to write a lot more regularly. Maybe I’ll set myself up for a once-a-week challenge. This challenge thing is really something. You ought to try it sometime.