Today I accomplish 6 months of publishing an article every day on this blog. Technically, it’s not “writing every day”, but more like “publishing every day”, because, especially in the beginning of this challenge, I was also scheduling articles in advance, for two, three days. Nevertheless, it hasn’t been one day without a new article published on this blog, for the last 6 months.
First of all, this is the longest streak I ever had in terms of putting content out there. It’s almost 200 days, 181 to be precise. And it’s only half of the way, still 6 more months until the end of the year, when the challenge will be complete.
Second, this endeavor went through many stages, and it felt very different along the way. Although the “every day” wording makes it sound like a flat, uninterrupted flow of events, it was anything but that. In todays checkpoint I’ll try to outline how this all unfolded.
Ultra Running And Ultra Writing
My experience as un ultra runner started to kick in after the first 3 months. I had previously engaged in long writing challenges, the longest one being 100 days, but everything after that was new territory. Being able to run distances longer than a marathon, with quite a few 100km, and a handful of 200km races under my feet, came in very handy.
There is a certain knowledge that you derive from these races. Not only the usual mumbo-jumbo about limitations and how to overcome them (which isn’t that mumbo-jumbo, after all), but also small tips and tricks, approaches and “a-ha” moments that can be very useful when maintaining any other long term processes.
For instance, detachment from the outcome. In ultra-running you can’t really be high at every step of the way. It is bound to have low points. It is bound to feel depressed, tired, unmotivated. What pushes you forward during these stages is sheer will. It’s the “one step in front of the other” mantra. You just keep going forward, without too much thinking about what’s going to happen after that. Just move on.
That’s how it was on many days of this writing challenge too. There were days when I was just opening the laptop, staring at the screen, and writing. Publishing the article for the day. Sometimes just minutes before midnight. Without too much thinking about how this will fit in in the grand scheme of things.
And then there were also “good enough” stretches. Just like in ultra-running, marking the current segment of the race as done is better than over performing, better than coming in first. Just making it to the next checkpoint is enough of a good thing. You don’t have to excel all the time. Most of the time, what you have to do is to go through the day in one piece. Or to write that piece for the day and move on.
Benefits And Drawbacks
As it is already half of the challenge, I think it’s a good moment to start looking at the benefits and drawbacks of this. There must be some of both of them.
I’ll start with the drawbacks. One of them is that the overall message of the blog may get a little bit diluted. It’s very difficult, if not impossible, to write about the same topics every day. I sometimes steer away from my regular themes (financial resilience, location independence and meaningful relationships) and dabble in stuff like what’s going on with the world, or crypto currencies, or whatever crosses my mind in those moments. It’s something that I already priced in, I expected this to happen, but it’s still a thing and must be taken into consideration.
Another drawback is that the challenge is eating a significant amount of time. It may not look like much, when you think: “just half an hour, an hour top, every day”, but it piles up. It’s been already 181 hours of writing, which is quite a lot. One can wonder if that time couldn’t have been used for something else. Of course I priced that in too, when I started the challenge, but sometimes I could use half an hour of walking outside, for instance, instead of writing. Not complaining, just saying.
And with that, let’s segue into benefits. Which are, luckily, more than the drawbacks.
First and foremost, my discipline and persistence are getting honed big time. And that translates into an improved self-confidence. I’m becoming more confident that, if I put enough time and energy into something, there’s no way I wouldn’t make it, at some point. This is a very important mindset shift, almost like taking your mind to a specific gym, keeping it fit and ready to tackle any long term challenge you would put on it.
Second, my ability to write at any given moment of the day also improved. There are no blockages anymore. On the contrary, I have to refrain myself from going over 1,000 words, sometimes. The average length of the article went down, to around 6-700 words, but that’s only because sometimes I can barely squeeze in that half an hour.
Third, my themes of interest are getting more stable. Since I’m exposing myself every day, sometimes by actually forcing me to focus, on them, I am less prone to distractions. Before that, it wouldn’t have been unusual to pursue some hobby, like playing with my Raspberry Pi collection and doing some weird projects, for weeks, if not months. I am more focused now, and, even if I do play around with other interests, I am spending less time on that.
On that note, I am finishing this checkpoint now, and moving forward with my day.
See you on the next 6 months, pick any day you want.