Today is the 365th consecutive day I have written something for publication on my blog*. As I round out this year of blogging, I have asked some of my good friends to send me questions they’d like to see me answer on my blog. Madison Kanna asks:
“There’s obviously a ton of valuable things you get from daily blogging, but if you really have to just pick just one reason why it’s so valuable for you—what is it?”
As the question acknowledges, there are plenty of good reasons to take up this habit. For me, a few of the good (but not #1) reasons include:
- Closing the books – I usually write my posts at the end of each day. No matter how bad the rest of my day has been, I can end it on a note of victory with a finished product of thought and creativity.
- Organizing my thoughts – Writing helps me to clarify and explain my own thoughts to myself, often enough. It’s a great way to process lessons learned or past experiences.
- Disciplining my creativity – There are very few other things that I can say that I have done for 365 consecutive days – let alone something as important to me as writing (My friend TK Coleman has observed that while most people will do things like brushing their teeth or taking a shower every day, few people will create something every day). This practice of daily writing has taught me that I could demand creativity of myself and deliver it daily.
- Training my awareness – When I’m constantly creating, I tend to pay more attention to the world around me, and I tend to notice more things as more beautiful, more interesting, etc. I’m always looking for things to write about, so my awareness is always raised. (This one first suggested to me by Isaac Morehouse).
- Building my reputation – With every thought I put out into the world, I define myself more and make myself easier to find for the people who share my interests, goals, and values. My blog posts contribute to the personal “brand” which gives me new personal and professional opportunities.
But none these is the most powerful reason for my writing. I felt early on in this process the drive that has kept me going – and that will continue to keep me going: the urgency to speak my mind.
Like every other human being, I have this head full of unique experiences (or at least subjectively unique ones), ideas, observations, convictions. I feel an urgency to get these things out of my head and into the world because I once spent a lot of time holding them in. I still do sometimes.
When I clutch ideas to myself – either from fear or insecurity or laziness – I doom them. They die with me. They never breathe free air. They never help another human being. They are never realized.
I don’t want ideas to die this death, so I write.
There is one quote I’ve come across that does a good job of expressing the creative urgency I feel with writing:
“The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.” – Les Brown
I don’t expect people to engage with my ideas when I do write (many of my posts have under 5 page views, and they may always be that way). But at least by setting myself to task of writing, I take my responsibility to seize inspiration, nurture it, and set it loose. If I do this every day with some content of *any significance at all*, I can know that I have done something meaningful toward making the world better.
“Fari quo sentiat” – “to speak what one feels”: that is the motto of one Walpole family crest. It seems appropriate. I have written in more depth about this urgency to speak my mind and the idea of a biological “mandate” to write. I encourage you to check out both of those pieces (both written about a year ago).
I also encourage you to consider what gifts you may be holding back from the world. Life is short. Take that shortness seriously, and tap into your best urgency. Then get some work done.
Thanks again to Madison for the question! And thanks to so many people for encouraging me on this daily blogging journey so far, from Isaac Morehouse (who first recommended this practice) to T.K. Coleman (who set the bar really damn high with several years of daily blogging) to the Praxis community, who have encouraged me and held me accountable along the way. I’m so much better off for doing this.
*Technicalities: Not always done within exact 24 hour periods, but more like “consecutive major circadian awake cycles”. Some days I wrote or finished writing after midnight, missing coverage for a certain calendar date but hitting coverage for a given waking cycle. Additionally, there was one day where I wrote a post and forgot to publish it until the next morning, so technically I haven’t “blogged” every day. However, I have written something for publication on my blog every day. On some days I worked on posts which I had begun on other days, but on all days I made some significant new writing and a finished post ready for the blog. You get the point.