I’ve been thinking about the idea of writing as discipline lately. I think it’s because I’m coming up on the year anniversary of posting three times a week on here, which feels at once an achievement and nothing at all, given how rambling and free-associating this can be. Nonetheless: a year. (Technically, it’ll be a year next week.)
I’m far enough away from the decision to be suspicious of any recollection of why I decided to write here more regularly, never mind on a thrice-weekly basis, but I know that part of it was a selfish desire to do something for me; writing that wasn’t work, wasn’t fulfilling an external brief or purpose. I didn’t have any intention at the time to even re-read what I’d written and posted — I still haven’t, for the most part — and I knew pretty clearly that no-one else was reading, either, so the point was the act of writing itself. Doing the thing.
(I know at least two people read now; thankfully, it’s my two favorite people in the world, so I don’t feel too self-conscious about the rambling. If there are others, don’t tell me.)
Despite the fact that I was only doing it for myself, I found myself surprisingly strict when it came to the structure of the thing; it was quickly obvious that three posts every week was very important to me for some inexplicable reason. Tradition? Superstition? Simply keeping a promise I made to myself? Whatever the reason, the idea of skipping posts was almost immediately anathema to me: there would be a post on Monday, a post on Wednesday, and a post on Friday no matter what.
And here I am, a year later, having done that, feeling quite pleased with myself. Even though, as I said, I don’t re-read what I’ve written and it might all be nonsense. (It probably is, let’s be honest.) Is it simply that I’ve kept up the routine, maintained the rhythm? Possibly, but that didn’t happen accidentally. There’s a sense of genuine achievement in knowing that I managed to be that self-disciplined all year, no matter all the everything else that was going on at the time, even if it was “just” this personal, private space. That I continued to make time for something just for me, after years of writing myself off or talking myself down.
It’s a good feeling, really.