Sunset over Massabesic Lake in Auburn, NH

Sophomore Effort

Sunset over Massabesic Lake in Auburn, NH
Massabesic Lake in Auburn, NH

I am reminded of two things that I read and heard from James Clear, author of Atomic Habits:

  1. Be specific
  2. Never miss twice

Be specific

It’s not enough to say, “I’ll blog,” nor even, “I’ll blog once per week.” (I declared the latter.) Rather, one must declare the how and the when. For example, I am amending my commitment to: “I shall write for this website at my desk at 6am on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.”

Never miss twice

Having a string of successful commitments feels good. A calendar full of X’s where something one desires has been accomplished (e.g., walking, reading, language practice). Missing a day (or instance) can be discouraging and even make one feel dejected about failing to continue the string. Instead of allowing a feeling of failure to overcome you, focus instead on the second goal: Don’t let two days (or instances) in a row go by without an X! Sick, traveling, a crisis—whatever the cause to miss a day, just get right back on the next one.

Where do you get your ideas?

One of the most frequent questions for artists is, “Where do your ideas come from?” as though the Muses of Greek mythology are real beings whispering into the ears of artists around the world. Even here, with this entry, I feel “meta,” writing about writing.

Another important point is that repetition creates opportunity. Simply by writing on a consistent basis, one draws more ideas to write. This is true for any creative art: Stories (or whatever one’s passion is) come from writing, not from a mystical well of creativity gifted from the gods.

One of the fears that I long felt (and still do to a degree) is that I will constantly or always—or even just frequently—write about writing, rather than a variety of topics and applying the craft of writing to communicate other things. The fact is, though, that merely by fostering the habit of writing, the rest will come of its own accord.

I’m busy on Sunday

Having crafted the specific habit above, it turns out I can’t write at the time specified, because I have an appointment that happens to occur in that time slot. So, rather than miss it, I have gotten a head start on writing, and will have this done the day before. I want to meet the commitments I set for myself, and looking ahead at my calendar to see when there are conflicts and dangers of missing my regular slots, I’ll jump in ahead of time an make sure that I accomplish my goals.

None of the ideas that I’ve so far shared originated with me. These are my internalization and application of the ideas that those who have come before imparted to me. I’m grateful for their teachings and happy to share my own journey.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Sushi in plastic containers on display on grocery store shelves.
Sushi: The very best junk food.

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