I Should Never Ever Take a Day Off

One of my daily routines—and a stated goal of my “projects” for the last four months—is to write at least 3,000 words per day. I started this practice almost two years ago. Usually, most of the 3,000 words are taken up by stream-of-consciousness blather, rants, and what I’d call verbal sketching—writing down what I might say if I were going to write about something in a serious manner.

Writing 3,000 words usually requires two periods of about 25 minutes each. I try to get through the first one before I do any other work each day and the second some time after dinner. Sometimes the “3,000-Word Initiative” (or 3kWI) exercises yield blog posts or letters to old friends, or occasionally business letters, proposals, and e-mail messages that I copy and paste when I’m finished with the exercise. Sometimes all I accomplish is to say what’s on my mind. I’ve described this function as “tapping off the crazy.” It’s often useful. Sometimes it’s also fun. Sometimes it’s painful, but I never regret having done it.

The last week has been challenging, though, with a weekend trip to Dallas and a heavier-than-normal workload. In the last seven days, I’ve written a first daily exercise six times, but I’ve only completed 3,000 words once. I did the best I could, but sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I plan to spend some extra time this weekend catching up on my blog-posting commitment and working my way back into the routine.

What always surprises me when I slack off on the 3kWI is how the quality of the experience changes. When I started writing this morning, my fingers felt clumsy on the keyboard, and the stream of consciousness was an intermittent trickle. I felt at a loss for ideas. I kept finding myself babbling about the lovely weather and worrying over all the tasks that remain on my to-do list. Creativity and inspiration were nowhere to be found.

They will return. They’ll surprise me some day soon, when I’ve put in enough practice.

1 comment to I Should Never Ever Take a Day Off

  • TracyW

    It is sooooo easy to get completely sidetracked, with even the slightest of deviations from your routine. Refocus, and you’ll get back on track. Always enjoyable to read. Keep it up.

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