Establishing a New Writing Habit

So far I’ve been writing about trying to stop a habit that hasn’t been good for me: eating too much sugary food. But today I want to acknowledge a new habit that I want to keep: writing!

Quite a while before starting Step Back Think Forward, I had a different blog. It meant a lot to me, and I kept it going for over a year and a half, ending about five years ago. I only ever published nine blog posts. Nine blog posts in over a year and a half.

So, how is it that I’m sitting here, already writing my NINTH post on this new blog that I started less than three weeks ago? How is that even possible? I mean, I realize lots of bloggers post three times per week or more, but me? The biggest procrastinator? I wouldn’t have thought it possible a few years ago.

What changed?

One difference this time around is that I committed myself publicly, on my first post, to a set schedule: Tue, Thu & Sun every week. I never set myself any deadlines or schedules with my old blog, but my posting frequency averaged out to about one every ten weeks. So a three-times-a-week schedule like this is definitely a stretch for me! I remember hearing somewhere that it’s easier to stick to a daily habit than to a habit that is more sporadic. Now that I’m posting three days a week, writing is starting to feel like part of my everyday life! I’m getting less sleep and my home is messier because of it, but I can’t tell you how good it feels to be writing regularly. It’s like a beautiful dream.

Secondly, almost no one is reading this blog (hello you!). Five years ago, with my old blog, I had a handful of followers – still very few – but I knew some of them personally: relatives, friends, mentors. I was deeply worried about what they would think of my writing, and what they would think of my opinions. It took a lot of work to get things to a level that I thought was passable, but most of the time it felt like nothing was ever quite good enough. So I procrastinated. And in the end I shut it all down.

My previous blog was about sexual exploitation, prostitution, feminism, and gender inequality. These issues are close to my heart; they matter deeply to me. And they are complex as hell. Maybe that’s why each blog post felt like it weighed a tonne, and each one took a commensurate mental toll on me. The subject matter deserved thorough research and a thoughtful and balanced analysis.

This new blog, on the other hand, is very personal. It’s really all about me. I don’t feel the need to do much research or have everything figured out. I’m just writing with what I’ve got. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing or a good thing…. But if I’m being honest, writing about myself just doesn’t feel as… I don’t know… important as the writing I was doing before.

But here again are the words of Tolstoy that I quoted in my first Step Back blog post: “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing (her)self”. Maybe in the past I was focusing too much on changing other people when really the best thing I can be doing is living my own life well and loving others.

Maybe I’ll resurrect the old blog some day. But I’m proud of the fact that I’ve stuck with this new blog and my new schedule for close to three weeks. It feels like I’m exercising new muscles, building up strength and flexibility. Am I training for something bigger? Or will this continue to be a humble project with a strictly personal impact? If I continue my writing, who can say what I might learn, or what I might accomplish? All I know is that it feels like it’s only the start.

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