Over the last three weeks, I wrote around 900, 900, and 2,000 words about, among other things, how women feel work-guilt, books I’m reading, and letters to loved ones.
I’m learning something about myself in pursuing this goal. I think of myself as good at tackling things – I choose a mountain, make a plan, and climb it. (Figuratively. I haven’t literally climbed a mountain. Yet.) But often, when it’s over, I’m totally done climbing mountains for six months, or a year, or longer. Periods of explosive energy to get to a summit feel natural to me, but they’re usually followed by a lot of stillness and rest until I choose a new mountain. Productive habits – small amounts of energy all the time – are not intuitive to me.
But it seems like habits are a really important part of being happy and whole. Going to bed at a consistent time, getting regular exercise, practicing new skills a little every day – all the things all the smart people say you should do are habits. I would like to be a person with those kinds of habits. So my new goal-within-a-goal is to see what it takes to develop a habit, by making writing my first productive habit.
I’m experimenting with writing in the morning and in the evening, in silent libraries and crowded restaurants, all the ways I can write in order to know when I write easiest and best. (Unsurprising
early learnings: I don’t like writing in the morning any more than I like doing anything in the morning, and I choose better words when no one else is talking.)
Witness, a quiet study carrel where I had a snack and wrote some words last week to the soothing sounds of students napping on the lunch hour: