Follow my progress…
Behind the scenes of writing a weekly letter.
I have been wanting to start this process for a while now.
To document life lessons for my children, similar to what Marcus Aurelius has done for us in Meditations. Something that’s available for my children even if I’m not around for them.
I wasn’t originally going to publish this, but I thought that it may inspire you to do something similar.
You signed up for my letter, I sent you an automated ‘welcome’ email, you took the time to reply and I’ve never bothered my ass to get back to you.
Sorry for being a dick.
I’m replying to you now.
Not writing the letters really put a mental block on everything to do with the project, and now that I’m writing again I feel completely liberated.
It feels so good to be writing again, and even better to hit ‘send’ on Letter V.
Gratitude is like a tiny hammer tapping away this black rock inside me, and I’m starting to see the light creeping through the cracks.
Understanding who I am is helping me to be a better dad, a better friend and a better partner. It’s helping me to be more emotionally available to the important people in my life, and without it I’m not sure where I would be.
Today I start a new writing schedule – something more realistic that I’ll have more chance of being successful with.
I really want to write in the morning, which means I’ve moved the start of my ‘working day’ to 10am on a Monday, Tuesday and Friday.
Even if I get up at 5am, I still can’t really do any work between 6am and 8:15am – this is the time when everyone is getting ready for school and work.
I’ll spend the early morning writing an entry in my journal, and then spend time with my family up until everyone goes to work/school.
From 8:15am I will write, have a short break and then start my ‘job’ at 10am.
This already feels better and more manageable.
Let’s see how it goes.
I’m embarrassed to say that’s it’s been almost two whole months since I visited this website.
What started off as a very passionate project, somehow quickly became a lot of hard work.
No surprises there, right?
Launching a project is easy, keeping a project going is hard. Well, it’s not hard, it’s just work.
After a few drinks last night, I confided in Cara to help me figure out why I’ve not made any progress on this project in the past few months.
What the fuck is going on with me?
A few things:
- I knew the first few letters would be easy compared to the rest, because they were my most concrete ideas at the time. It started off easy, and every week it got harder. Writing isn’t the hardest part, it’s making the ideas I write about make sense. What I’ve figured out is that there’s a lot more work required than just the ‘writing’.
- I’ve put too much pressure on myself. Not just a weekly schedule, but my expectations of myself are too high. In terms of the quality of writing, I’m expecting every letter I write to be a hit, to be the best yet. But that’s not how it works. I know that to become a better writer I have to write, and that not everything I write will be my best writing.
- I haven’t been writing enough. Why? It’s related to all the other points I’ve made here. As time has passed over this few months, with no movement, I’ve lost my confidence and I’ve been getting in my own way.
- I forgot why I started this project in the first place. The big picture: I want to push myself to write more, so I can find new ideas, explore new topics, and eventually find a thread for a book. The reality is that I fell off my horse at the first hurdle (after 4 letters I stopped), and now I need to get back on. More about that here.
- Every day that passed I felt more and more guilty that I wasn’t serving you, the reader. And every day that passed felt like I was moving further and further away from every getting back to this project. This is a classic case of overthinking and getting in my own way. I just need to open up my laptop and start writing again. I need to ‘reboot’ and start fresh.
- I haven’t made the project a priority. Yip, I’ve got time scheduled in my diary for writing every week, I’ve even got a project schedule in Basecamp, with reminders and deadlines. But that’s not enough. I need to make it a priority in my life, and up until now I’ve let other less important things take that time instead. You can have all the productivity tools in the world, but they don’t do the work for you.
So what am I going to do about it?
Today is Sunday 5th May. I’ve cleared my whiteboard in my office to develop a new schedule for this project. I’m going to pretend this is a newspaper and I have to submit my column at the same time each week.
I’m going to plan out the next 6 topics for the letter and start the writing process. I know that I must do this. I want to write more, I want to write and publish books, and in order to do that I have to explore the ideas I have and find my way through this.
I also know that I need to push through this barrier – it’s exactly why I started this project in the first place. I’ve got no idea what it feels like to write a book, or to be a writer, and I’m not prepared to fail just because it got a little harder than I expected. Pushing through this challenge is what I need to get better.
So, here it is…my confession to you.
I hope you’ll stick with me and I’ll see you back in your inbox in a week with something new to think about.
The next daily journaling challenge starts on 18th March.
If you already have the SPAR! app on your iPhone, you can press this link to join: https://spar.page.link/vKX9
If not, get the full instructions on this page.
Well…I’ve taken a few weeks off from publishing a letter to spend more time on bringing a few thoughts and ideas together.
I’ve also been struggling to find a flow in a few topics that I’ve been writing about. I’ve been writing every day, but nothing feels quite ready for a letter. It’s frustrating, but it’s part of my process.
So, after 4 weeks of sending out a letter on a weekly basis, I’ve learned how much work I want to put into these letters, and maybe I won’t always been in a position to send a letter every single week.
That being said, I think there’s a little perfectionism going on here, and I’m putting too much pressure on myself. Thinking back to why I started this letter in the first place – I knew that I would have some challenges a long the way. That’s exactly why I started this project – to challenge myself to write more, and find out what I’m capable of.
This is my first major challenge, and I know that I need to break through it to get better.
What I’m saying is that I haven’t disappeared, I’m still thinking about this project and you every day.
Thanks for your support so far 🙂
Maybe you’ve been trying to build the daily habit of journaling for a while, and you know that you can’t do it consistently without some accountability.
Perhaps you’ve already nailed the journaling habit and you’d like to join a community of others who think like you do…
…and maybe you enjoy a competitive environment and you want to put your money where your mouth is 😉
If so, I’d like to invite you to join my daily journaling challenge.