I can tell you one thing: I'm definitely not writing a blog post tomorrow.
Two years ago I agreed to be accountable to a friend for writing a blog post every single day for two years. If I failed to do it, I would have to pay $10,000. I could skip once per month and I could "buffer" one post by writing two on the first day.
I'm finally done. I never used a skip, but I used the buffer on two or three occasions. I was always terrified of using the skip because I thought that I might absolutely need it in the thirty days following its use. I'll use my first one tomorrow, as it's technically the last day of the challenge.
Overall the challenge was a very positive thing. The speed with which I can write a blog post has increased dramatically. A decent post can be written with few or no edits needed in about seven to ten minutes. My writing has certainly improved to some extent, although it's very hard to gauge that. I guess the best empirical evidence is that I've gotten very positive feedback on posts that I thought were a six or seven out of ten.
I wrote two books during the challenge, and they were extremely easy to write because of it. In fact, I don't distinctly remember writing them, as it felt as though it took no effort at all. Life Nomadic, on the other hand, felt like a Herculean effort.
I also documented every single day on the island as a blog post. I may actually polish those up and publish them some day. Whether I do or not, it's pretty neat to have a narrative record of every single day we've spent on the island.
For the first six months or so, writing was the hard part. I had so many good ideas for blog posts, and I was finally getting them down on paper. I loved that phase. But somewhere in the past year I began to feel that I was producing more posts than ideas. Some of my unpublished posts are incredibly insubstantial.
Incentives became bad during that period. If I didn't have a good idea, it would gnaw at me a bit all day, and I'd put off the post. Then I felt like I had the obligation looming over me. By the end of the day I would write a crappy post just to fulfill the bet. Once in a while one of those would come out better than expected, but a lot of time it was just writing for writing's sake.
Some of the joy of writing was also sapped. I'd want to write a good long post, but since I got no more credit for it I'd often settle for an inferior treatment of the subject. And occasionally I'd be motivated to write after already writing for the day, but would postpone it until the following day.
In retrospect, I think it would have been better to do this for six or eight months and then reevaluate. Or maybe six months of writing posts, six months of writing blog post title ideas, and then back to writing posts. But I'm proud to have stuck to something so diligently for such a long period of time, and I think I might realize even more benefits from it once I'm off it and have some room to breathe and write when inspired.
I actually planned on not writing today, because I could use my skip and my buffer to take the last two days off. Call it thoroughness or Stockholm syndrome, but I couldn't help myself. Just knowing I don't have to do it makes it feel like much less of an obligation. But still, I'm taking tomorrow off.
Photo is three great Oolong teas from Te Company in NYC. The "2028" Oolong was a unanimous favorite.
Congrats! You'll probably appreciate this post from John Biggs about the things he's learned writing over 11,000 posts for the likes of TechCrunch and Gizmodo.
That's an amazing commitment. Congrats!
For a while in January, I set aside thirty minutes and wrote a post a day. It was an amazing creative exercise and loosened up my subconscious for writing a new book. Then I got caught up in rewrites and fell out of the habit. Your point about how easy it was to write books has inspired me. I'll commit again!
Congratulations! You are an inspiration. I can't even keep a weekly routine and you accomplished a hard challenge for two years!
What happens after this?
Congrats! I remember when this challenge began -- it's a huge accomplishment, and to read of your improvements is heartening. I've enjoyed all of your published work over the past two years. I only subscribe to 2 blogs via email, and this is one of those. Whatever you do, enjoy the time off!
Congrats on completing 728 days of blogging!
I have done a few 1000 day meditations - same meditation every single day. The deal I made with myself was if I missed a day then I would reset the count to 1. Some of them were 15-minute meditations. I was incredibly motivated to get my meditate in even if traveling, sick or it was night and I had been busy all day.
I got much better at meditating. Didn't matter if I was in a noisy place or cold or heavy monkey mind. Some days my experience was bliss, others blah. Overall I improved.
I certainly got a level of meditation mastery from the process, and yes on day 1001, (after carefully double checking my day count!), I took a break. But you know what? I felt really weird for a few days not doing the habit!
Curious if that happens for you with the writing.
Once upon a time I read "The artist's way" which suggests writing 3 pages in your journal every day. Based on that, I started making a daily comic. http://www.stripcreator.com/comics/arbi/586164 was yesterday's. Sometimes I take a month off, but this year at least I've been pretty diligent about doing them every day. Usually they are boring laundry lists, just for my own use. Now and then i sneak in a joke or an absurd story from my life. I've been doing them 12 years now. It's one of the few bits of continuity in my life. I'm still hopelessly disorganized,and still troubled by writer's block, but I feel it helps a bit. This past hour I've been reading a brief by a government lawyer attacking a brief I'm trying to file in his case.
It's the first bit of substantive writing I've filed in a court in, probably over a year,and altough it was hard work and took months and didn't pay anything, it makes me feel back in the game a little bit.
I don't really feel like writing today. I've been working on the new version of my book all day, so writing's the last thing on my mind. Once I get going it's fine - it's just that picking a topic to write about and actually getting started are the hard part.
So I'll write about that.
For the past six months I've been doing Crossfit as I've mentioned many times. For the first four months I did it with a class that met three times a week. I never missed a single workout, even when I went up to Boston for christmas. I ran in the snow and did workouts in the basement with my sister.
I'm thrilled that Tynan is coming to you with two things -- first, he's offering a breakthrough session through GiveGetWin. It's geared around doing more of the kind of excellent work you want to do, becoming more internally focused with your emotions, having a more enjoyable life, building great habits, and producing a lot of value in the process. There's five spots, so check it out now.
Second, we have this wonderful tour-de-force interview: it starts by covering how Tynan made the shift from unfocused to focused, how to derive internal enjoyment from things, useful actionable exercises you can do right now, Tynan's method and mindset for producing creative work consistently, how to set up great habits and an excellent mental and physical work environment, and how to make blogging work and similar endeavors work for you.
Total Focus; Total Enjoyment by Tynan, as told to Sebastian Marshall
When I turned 30 and I had a minor freak out… I thought, "I'll be 40 in not long, and then 50… there's things I want to do in my life, and they're not happening at this pace."
Before that, I had a general idea of things I wanted to do and have in my life, but I went about in an unstructured way. It was good in a lot of ways. It made be a broad process, but not much depth.