The Blogging Habit

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, writing is not natural to me. I want to do it, but I struggle to produce on command.  I conveniently hide behind my own sense of busyness to justify procrastinating, particularly during the workweek. I usually feel like I’m rushing just to get ready for bed at the end of the day. I’m too tired to focus on writing, or even thinking about what I’d like to write about. So I wait to write until the weekend when I don’t have work to contend with.

The weekend is my dumping ground for most of my should-do activities. I defer anything that will take longer than 30 minutes because, right or wrong, I don’t think I can spare that much time during workdays. I originally attempted to apply this tried and true method to the blog habit. I figured the process would look something like this:

  1. Have inspired idea
  2. Structure thoughts into outline
  3. Write 1st draft
  4. Edit accordingly

Unfortunately my thought process for writing does not follow such a tidy and linear plan. In reality, my process looks more like this:

  1. Try to remember the inspired idea I had last Tuesday while reading on the bus

The StruggleRealize I need to start a load of laundry

~50% chance I actually remember an idea and write it down & continue to step 2

  1. Stare at computer screen while breaking down components of idea into an outline

The Struggle 2Categorize the pile of credit card receipts on the counter into my budget on Mint.com

~50% chance I’ll drive on to step 3

  1. Nearly continuous loop of think…type, edit, type, think-some-more…re-edit… type… for every sentence and also every paragraph until each is nice and neat

The Struggle 3Make a snack, take a nap…do anything but continue writing!!!

~5% chance I’ll force myself to write another paragraph

I think you get the point; I can’t go from zero-to-writing in one solid chunk of time on the weekend. My original plan was a recipe for failure. The habit I tried to force on myself was not engineered for the way I think or work.

For the past few weeks I’ve been trying something different. I consciously force myself to do blog work every morning M-F. I spend about 20-30 minutes typing notes on ideas I’ve had and then organizing my thoughts. Basically I get steps 1 and 2 out of the way during the week so I can flow into step 3 on the weekend. Sometimes I even get a head start on step 3 during the week and type out a few partially completed paragraphs.

SunriseA big reason why this is working for me so far is that I’m doing it in the morning. When establishing a habit, it’s important for me to do so when my will power and motivation is high. That’s the morning for me. Usually after work my fuel tank is depleted and I only have the mental energy to do habits that are already well established and don’t require much conscious effort.

Have you struggled with establishing new, healthy habits too? When is the best time for you to work on it? Erica tells me she writes at night with the TV on in the background. I don’t know how she does it! It would take me a long time to be that disciplined about writing. With that being said, I have had difficult-to-start habits, like practicing meditation, which I eventually transitioned from morning to evening. I’ll write more about on that soon.

Thanks for reading and thanks for your feedback!

Don

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