Doing something about my dream every single day.

February 8th, 2018

This is hardly a new idea: if something is important to you, make it a priority to do SOMETHING on it every single day.

Your fitness. Your art. The good order of your life. Your relationship. You’ll know.

Jerry Seinfeld talks about it in terms of “Don’t break the chain.” There’s a whole movement for “non-zero days” (launched in this epic Reddit comment, but also glossed usefully here). Whatever approach you take, just make sure you do at least one little thing each day that moves you closer to your dreams.

I’ve been candid here about the struggle that I’ve been through lately. 2017 was a hard, hard year, and now I’m rebooting my life in many different ways. From that vantage point, it’s easy for me to see how I’ve allowed relationship issues, making a living, and all of the other things that have filled my days to keep me away from my real work — writing books.

Writing books is who I really am, regardless of my relationship status or what day job I have. (Note this post from, alas, 2009.) And yet I’ve been treating it as optional, or as something that can come later. Well, enough of that bullshit. Writing my first novel every single day until it is done is as important as anything in my life, and now I’m acting like it.

The picture at the top of the page shows my buddy Austin Kleon‘s hand-drawn calendar to get you going on the Seinfeld model. (You can download it here.) As you can see, this is day 9 for me of writing my novel. Results so far:

  • Getting well synced with the ideas in the story, which I started cooking up in October but set aside as life intervened. (Or, as I allowed life to intervene; I’m working to take full responsibility for my own actions — which this project also helps.)
  • Yesterday and today, I was able to spend longer periods happily pecking away without feeling the need to check social media, read e-mails, and so on. And during those periods, the ideas just flowed, such that now I see much better how different parts of the book — plot points, characters, themes — will play off of each other. Now there are also more little details that will make specific scenes hum. These are reminders, as a writer friend was telling me a while back, that I’m wired such that I will always be full of new ideas. That, in turn, means that I can afford to freely discard stale ideas weighing me down.
  • In general, I just feel better about my progress. Artists create. Writers write. I’m writing. Pow.

What are you working on that deserves a piece of your attention every single day?

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