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What's next? (166/500)

A week ago, I stopped my writing streak at 165 consecutive days. After writing through some challenging phases, personally professionally (and both), I decided to snap the streak.

The has given me some time to think and today, some time to write. So I've decided to pick it back up. What follows are a few reflections on where I've been and where I'm headed next.

Setting out to do this last spring, I was pumped. Leading up to summer, I would learn to organize a site (this one). To build accountability, I shared my plan with a small group of people I appreciate, as friends, mentors, and professional colleagues. For accountability, I used Twitter to announce my plans, and committed to shipping updated posts each day.

That worked, for months. There were days and weeks where my ideas and words flowed. There were other days and weeks when I felt sluggish, struggling to generate ideas and momentum, to manage my time, and to balance my work-life priorities. But I kept going.

Pushing through is something we've all learned to do in the 2020s. But the quality of the experience, the product, and my enthusiasm was waning. What started as something I "got to do" was becoming something I "had to do". So, I planned my exit, at 165 days.

165 days out of 365 days had a nice ring to it, a good rhythm. And, by then, I had shipped 165 times more than someone who hasn't started writing and publishing. I put in the reps.

Before, during, and since stopping, I've spent lots of time reading, learning, and reflecting on why this didn't succeed, where I've learned, and what I can do next.

3 Mistakes Made (Lessons Learned):

Mistake #1: Not establishing a sustainable writing routine.

Just work.

Jerry Seinfeld, on The Tim Ferriss Show, when asked, "What would you put on a billboard?"

While I knew this was important, my current work-life doesn't allow for this, especially, in pandemic times. I do this in most other aspects of my life that are important to me, but not writing. While this did happen for the actual physical act of writing, my current schedule won't grant me time needed for other vital components of the process. I forgive myself for that, and look forward to doing that as my life changes and time permits in the years ahead.

Mistake #2: Not reading enough...fiction.

From the day I was born, I've been surrounded by books. For as long as I can remember, I've had a book in my hands. My reading diet has taken a turn in adulthood, comprised now of mostly professional reading and non-fiction materials. As most prolific creators share, reading, especially fiction, is key to unlocking creativity, especially writing well. As Stephen King writes in On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, "Books are a uniquely portable magic".

Mistake #3: Thinking I've Failed.

If I'm honest with myself, when I first sensed the difficulty of a 365 day public writing challenge, and first knew it'd come to an end, I became filled with a sense of disappointment, of failure. With some daylight on the experience, that's just not the case.

With the vast number of creators out there, modeling their work, progress, struggles, and failures, there's inspiration all around us to create. Thing is, I want to get back up and keep going. And with this experience behind me, I know what lies ahead, who to look to for inspiration, and what to do when times get tough: Get back up and try again.

So that's what I will do. Not necessarily every weekend or weekday. Those days, I'll be invested in other aspects of becoming more like the type of person I aim to be.

I'm still climbing, to (at least) 500 blog posts. When I reach the apex, will I see you there?

Click here to visit the Learning Leadership 365 site, where you may read all posts I've written.

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