For the last three months and some change, I’ve been part of an online workshop. It’s not strictly speaking a writing workshop, but as far as I’m concerned, it is. And for the last three months minus a couple of days, I’d been consistent with it. Showing up every day, writing something, posting it up, and commenting on other people’s work.
I fell off the wagon, so to speak, about two weeks ago. At this point, I don’t even remember why. And quite frankly, I don’t think it matters. But what it reminds me of is the fact that whatever you do, you’re training yourself to keep doing that thing. So writing every day in succession was training myself to write every day, and not writing for a couple of day in succession is also training myself to not write every day. Every action, on some level, is a step towards habit formation.
The problem isn’t that I don’t want to write. Or that I don’t know what to write about. On the contrary, I have an almost never-ending list of things I want to write about.
The problem is this: I spend the entire day procrastinating, and when I finally sit down to write, I immediately realise that I don’t know nearly enough about whatever thing it is that I want to write about; certainly not enough to write anything interesting. So I tell myself that I have to read first. Just a couple of articles. And then a few Youtube videos as well. And perhaps even a podcast or two.
But of course I don’t have time to read and watch videos and listen to a podcast or two. I have a full time job. So instead, I just don’t do it. I tell myself I’ll do it tomorrow, and then of course tomorrow, the exact same thing happens. Every action is habit formation.
And this is how I found myself today, sitting at my desk at two in the morning, realising I definitely don’t have nearly as much time as I need to write this thing I’m thinking of writing about contact sheets. So instead, I decided to write about not writing. Because writing about not writing is also writing.
And every action is a step towards formation.