I kept hearing that you should do it every day, so, for my next something different, I tried to. I thought it would be easy, it doesn’t take long, it’s something I enjoy. This should have been easy… but it wasn’t. I kept finding excuses not to do it: I have a headache, I am tired, don’t have the energy. So next, I went out shopping and brought some tools to make it easier and that allowed me to do it anywhere: in the car, walking the dog, at the shops or in the bath. Nope not a success, that didn’t help either.
The truth is, this writing thing is still new to me and I find it a bit scary. I have written my whole life but this is the first time I have taken it seriously. When I start writing, it seems to take on it’s own life form. My head is abuzz with words all of the time; I want to write about everything I look at; strings of words float around me, taunting me, enticing me back to the computer. It just consumes me and there does not seem to be an ‘off’ switch. I’ve heard of writer’s block but this seems like the opposite ‘Writer’s overload’. It all just got too overwhelming.
So I stopped writing. It seemed to be the only way to turn down the voices in my head and it worked, too well. I stopped hearing the voices altogether. I had to sit down and write an assignment and no words came. The deadline loomed and I had nothing, zip. Desperate not to fail the assignment, I had to push through it. It wasn’t the best piece of writing I had ever written but it was at least something. Some words on a page.
There is a theory by Dr Maltz that it takes us 21 days to form a new habit. Another researcher has concluded that the average time is 66 days. I’m not sure which one to believe or if it is that important, but what is important is that I start doing it every day and keep going. My promise to myself.
We all make promises to ourselves, some are small, insignificant ones, others can be slightly grander, some we break and others we keep. I guess the importance of the promise and the willingness we have behind helps define if we are going to keep it not.
So far, I’m on day four. I am back to the hearing the voices again but I have found if I sit down and write a little that I can keep them quiet for a bit. My new notebook and pen that I carry with me almost everywhere seem to help catch those stray, nagging thoughts that keep buzzing around. Then for a small bit of time, there is silence.
Dr Jeremy Dean, Sept 2009, How Long to form a habit [Blog Post], Retrieved from http://www.spring.org.uk/2009/09/how-long-to-form-a-habit.php