If you’re someone that writes you might find that you rarely allow yourself to just be in the moment. The most wonderful thing could be happening but your mind is already looking back on it or thinking about how best to capture it.
Instead of just being in the moment, you’re observing it so that when it comes to writing about it you have all the details.
In some ways it could be considered a good thing.
But when you’re in an experience and you have the intentions of writing about it, you might find that you change your behaviour.
You end up saying or doing things to suit the narrative of what you want to write.
In turn you don’t allow yourself to be fully immersed in the experience.
Sometimes you need to decide to put the writing aside and just enjoy the moment.
I recently found myself journalling. It’s something I did consistently for almost a decade.
I stopped keeping a regular journal because it no longer served the purpose in my life that it did when I first started. These days I journal maybe once or twice a month. Sometimes just to let out frustration or get some thoughts out about whatever is on my mind.
Sometimes I think that this site is like my journal because I’m writing about my life and my experiences. But the biggest differences with this blog and my journal are how much effort I put in and my end goal.
My journal isn’t something I put effort into (in the sense that it’s more of a brain dump and not written for an audience) and it has no end goal other than serving as a release.
This blog on the other hand is a real passion project and from around 6 months in I started making plans for the future.
I was recently asked about whether I write for myself or for readers.
It’s something I think about every now and then but it was interesting to be asked.
On one hand I write for myself because I love it but on the other hand I write for my readers too.
I’m thoughtful about what I share and my intention is to always add value in some way.
I don’t expect anyone to read every single post I write but for the posts you do read I’d like it to feel like time well spent.
Whether it’s 100 words on friendship, career development or overcoming fear, I do my best to add some kind of takeaway.
When you feel low or sad about something it can be difficult to know what t do with the feeling. After all you don’t want to feel it, you’d much rather the sadness just left you alone.
But the thing with difficult feelings and feelings in general is that they don’t leave if you don’t allow yourself to feel them.
And then there is the question of how do you feel your feelings.
I don’t think there is a set answer of how but I’ll share what works for me.
Writing is incredibly therapeutic, I do it everyday.
Writing allows you to explore yourself freely and can be used as a tool to express how you feel. If you’re feeling hurt you can write about it. But you can also ask yourself questions like ‘why does this bother me?’ or ‘what would make me feel better right now?’ and then write until you have some kind of answer or at least until your mood has shifted.
The creator of the habit loop determined that in order to change a habit you needed to change your routine. For example, drinking a glass of water when you crave a cigarette.
For the past 7 days I’ve been working to undo a habit. I didn’t consciously replace it with anything but I suppose I could say I’ve been writing instead.
By the time I got to the 7th day I found I had little interest in carrying out the habit I’d been trying to undo.
It served as a reminder that sometimes we get so caught up in doing things that we believe we’re stuck or that it will be a hard habit to break.
Granted this doesn’t apply to everything but I think it’s fair to say that not all habits are difficult to break.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been reflecting on how what I write about has changed.
Firstly, I’ve found that a lot of my posts have been about the pandemic whether it is about working from home or the way our day to day lives have changed. Secondly, there is much less playfulness in the way I write because everything going on in the world is quite serious.
Overall I’ve been quite current, writing about things happening now. But at the same time I also want my posts to be evergreen so that they’ll still be useful to the person reading them 6 months from now.
However, the posts I’ve written about this pandemic are something I’ll probably be glad to look back on as a reflection on this current time. To know not necessarily how I was feeling but instead what I thought mattered at the time. That’s what I’ve been writing about.
Prior to mid-march 2020 my writing time consisted of my journey to and from work, my lunch break and in the evenings after dinner. I’d do my best to plan ahead and have my posts scheduled for 7.30am each morning.
But once lockdown started my day to day life changed significantly. I was no longer travelling to and from work each day, my work and home life were blended.
Over the past couple of months I’ve stopped planning ahead, almost never schedule posts in advance and I’m no longer posting in the morning. Instead I write and post on my blog in the evenings as my day is winding down. I’m still posting the same amount but I actually find that it’s a lot easier.
It’s much simpler and less time consuming which means I have more time for everything else that i enjoy.
There are 2 ways of working.
The first is in batches, a couple of hours one or 2 times a week.
The second is bit by bit, day by day.
Many people find themselves picking one of the two ways thinking that it’s the best way of working.
But it turns out it depends on the work you’re doing and also the way you feel like working.
Last year I was focused on scheduling posts and there were times when I’d be scheduling a week of blog posts in one go.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been writing and publishing a blog post at the end of my day. At first it felt strange and I was frustrated that my batch blogging habit had fallen away.
However, from taking the bit by bit approach I’m enjoying blogging more. I spend moments of my day thinking about what I want to say and then I type it up at night. It feels like I’m creating a better writing practice because I’m clicking publish each day.
It’s not to say that the bit by bit approach is the best way of working. But what I can say is that it’s going pretty well for me right now.
I’ve been writing a little different lately and trying to figure out the best kind of things to share during this time.
My aim is to be relevant but whilst still maintaining my usual style and core themes.
I’ve been thinking a lot about science, history, people and fear. From that I’ve had so many ideas for things to write about and once piece in particular (that is currently just a few words and phrases) has brought me joy.
There’s a thing I do when I write where I put little thoughts and ideas together then try and make some sense out of them. It’s so fun, it’s almost like a game, trying to see how I can fit things together.
Right now I’m having a lot of new thoughts and thinking about things in ways I never have before.
And so even though things are very unexpected and a little challenging, I guess right now I’m just enjoying my writing process.
Now, is the perfect time to find joy in doing the things you love.
After a week or so of struggling to write I got my flow back, the words began to pour.
I began to think about how difficult it had been to post everyday that previous week, until I caught myself and realised why I hadn’t been able to write as easily.
I’d stopped writing.
In that week or so of struggling to write I’d gotten caught up in being busy and I chose to do other things with my time instead of write. And so I suppose I created this story in my head about struggling to write because it was easier than admitting the truth.
Plus, at times it’s almost cool to have ‘writers block’ just so you can shout about when it’s over.