I Wrote for 7 Days Straight — Here’s What I Leant
There’s not much you can’t master with some conscious habit building. We are quite literally the total sum of our habits. If you go the gym most days and eat well, you probably fall into the category of being healthy. If you run most days you can call yourself a runner. If you write most days, gulp, you can probably call yourself a writer.
We are the habits we practice.
There is something so wonderful simple about habits. You practice them and you get the results. You don’t and you won’t. Sometimes we get confused when we don’t get the results when we haven’t practiced the habits. I’m not quite sure why that ever causes any confusion. If you don’t do the work you won’t get the results. Or if you practice habits that lead to undesirable results, well, you’ll get the results you didn’t desire.
All of this is pretty simple. One plus one equals two. You practice something you get better.
“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.” Albert Einstein
This is probably most true in my last seven days of writing.
First off… I’m really quite new to this writing thing. I discovered writing quite by chance and well, I’m finding it hard to do anything other than write at the moment. I’m sure my time will come where I fall off the wagon or find my attention swaying like every great love story, there has got to something that will test my love. But for now I’m in the honey-moon phase and loving it.
So what have I learnt from my last seven days of writing?
Well, a fair few things.
#1 My favourite and most productive time to write is in the morning
My day job takes up a lot of my time in the week and by the time 5pm comes around I’m pretty mentally drained. I find it hard to sit down at 5pm and concentrate on writing. It’s definitely easier if I’ve got an article half-written because I can pick up from where I left off and it’s almost like I’ve done some of the thinking. But by far and away, the best time for me to write is in the morning. I like that I can sit with a hot coffee, right at the start of the day, when the clouds are stretching their legs.
There is something about the calmness of the morning, it means I’m able to think clearer. And it’s not a bad thing to get an article up before 7am.
#2 I write to explore my thoughts
It’s not often I sit down with a preconceived idea of what to write. Sometimes I start writing and get to the fourth paragraph and think ‘you know, this isn’t quite right’. And I’ll stop that train of thought and move on to the next. I write what comes to mind and if nothing else continues to come to mind I move on to the next story. I’m a firm believer of the ‘flow’ and when I’m in it I can write for hours and when I’m not I have to change topic. I’ve got about six different stories from this week that are half finished. And I’ll get round to them… at some point. In some ways I quite like a half finished story, it’s a little bit like picking up a book after you left it at a good bit. I get to come up with new ways of looking at the same idea a few days later.
It’s quite curious writing. I find that I never know what I’m going to write in any given day. I know the type of thing I like to write about but as for titles or topics, they just sort of fall onto the page. In a way, I’m experiencing the idea in parallel to the page that I’m writing on. I’m not sure if that makes any sense at all but as I press these keys to tell you what’s in my head, I’m learning too.
Which is quite magical.
#3 I find inspiration from other stories
I like to read. As I’m discovering on this platform, there are lots of very talented writers. I love to read how other people view the world. It’s amazing how two people can experience the very same thing and have a totally different way of articulating it. If I’m struggling to figure out what to write about, I browse through medium and get a flavour of what the platform as a whole is talking about.
In manufacturing deconstructing is constructing. In other words, to understand how to make something, you first take apart the thing you want to make. And in some ways that’s how I think about writing when I’m looking through other people’s stories. I like to think about the idea that someone else is trying to convey and think about how I would say that.
#4 Writing sets me up for a good day
Writing, more than anything else, is just good for me. It’s good for me because it helps me articulate my thoughts. It good for me because it allows me to express my thoughts and leave them somewhere. It’s good for me because it makes me feel like I’m adding something to the world.
I think a lot. And to be able to channel that is a pleasure. It’s part of what makes a good day for me and for that I’m pretty grateful.
#5 Minimal viable product
In my work life we talk about MVP all the time. What is the minimal effort we need to put into something to get it up and running and test desirability. In a sense, how do we get something out there and test if people like it. There is a bit of an art to this. You don’t want to just throw anything out the door without thinking about it. You’ll then be testing something that is totally different to the product you hoped to create. You want to put the effort in to get the general sense of the product you want to create but you don’t want to spend months and months working on something to perfect it, only to find out nobody wants to buy it.
In a sense, that’s how I think about my writing. I’m about a month into my writing career. It’s very, very early doors. I like to write and create but not obsess over getting things ‘right’ straight the way. This all a bit of an experiment to discover my writing style and I’m loving it so far.