As I am facing the new year, I’m reflecting on the past new year’s resolutions, and more importantly how I did with those resolutions.
There were many over the years, some accomplished (starting my architecture practice), some still working on(trying to exercise every day), some impossible to accomplish(no dessert after dinner).
Out of all the goals I created in the past, one stood out from the rest; getting up at 5 AM on weekdays. My fascination with 5 AM started back in my high school years with my father’s urging. His efforts in military special force training background pushed me and my siblings into no pain no gain junior military team spectacularly failed.
It was not the 5AM but more like 8:15AM with no breakfast/uncoordinated outfits team running to school each day to barely make the first classes.
However, the fascination of 5 AM continued into my adult life and somehow showed up as one of my annual goals to accomplish every year without fail.
In the year 2021, I made the 5 AM goal possible! Truthfully, it was about 75% possible.
For the first time in my life, I was consistent enough to make this huge goal a habit and found it to be easier to accomplish. I am not sure what made this possible… It could be my old age (supposedly you need fewer sleeping hours as you get older), setting three alarms at three different locations and feeling afraid to wake up family members, or simply I was less sleepy(?) after getting up and turning off three different alarms at three different locations.
Whatever the reasons, I was happy to become part of the 5 AM club people talk about. With this seemingly impossible goal accomplished last year, I began to realize there was something else I found to be even more difficult than 5AM; writing.
WTP (What is the point) questions
In 2015, I started this blog.
Like all the projects I tackled in the past, I came up with all the necessary(?) to-do lists to create my blog to be a successful project. Those lists consisted of the number of views, followers, where to pitch my blogs, etc. In other words, I was focussing on the external validation for making the blog to be considered a success.
However, I did not anticipate the possibilities of no views, no readers, no metrics, no nothing. Seeing no changes in metrics especially in the early days of the blogging, initial enthusiasm waned…
And then unavoidable W.T.P. questions; What is the point questions.
I started asking the WHY. I asked myself why I was pushing the project when it was not clearly bringing any results.
Writing is not easy …and I was not even enjoying the process.
It was time to reflect on my big WHY’s. Why was I doing the work that was not producing the results, and not even enjoying the work? Besides, it was so depressing to see no one is reading, besides friends and families with my not so gentle push along the way.
writing note taking
Writing is difficult… Not only for me but also for many people.
I have heard the same sentiments from even some of the famous authors. I even find forming short work emails to be difficult…seeing the blank screen with the cursor blinking, thinking what and how to say (without the actual writings), and dreading the writing work, procrastination continues.
However, there is one writing activity I find easy; writing my diaries.
It is more like taking notes. It’s a habit I developed over the years due to a lack of memory skills. It is a way for me to remember things, places, people, Anything I want to remember, I make notes.
With the diary, I only focus on what I was feeling, thinking without the constraints of grammars, style, readers, views…I was only focussing on ONE reader: me.
With this free-flowing process, I find myself writing to be easy, and I dare say I even find it enjoyable.
Recognizing this earth-shattering (?) concept of writing approach, I decided to approach my blog writing the same way. Instead of trying to come up with the “right ways” to write the blog posts, I decided to approach it with the easy, informal ways, and hence truly the “rough draft”.
Somehow after hours of writing in this style, I have pages of a scribbled, unrecognizable, very rough draft.
Writing is like thinking
Writing helps with my thinking.
I would not have believed the concept, however after years of writing, editing, some more editing for my blogging journey, I’m convinced of these seemingly unrelated concepts.
Why early vacation planning is a bad idea is such a blog post. While writing about the past vacation experience and need for time off, I went into different angles of vacations; how I was making myself more stressed by planning the vacation early.
Writing makes me question my assumptions, values, belief systems…
As the saying goes, the best way to learn is to teach someone else, and writing works the same way. Through writing, and trying to argue each point, I’m learning to make the readers and more importantly myself to be convinced of each point.
Through this process, I am editing what is written on the paper, as well as my thinking process and “somehow” I find myself arriving at different conclusions than what I started with.
I have to admit the process of editing (both writing and thinking) is not comfortable; time-consuming, unclear, nonlinear process.
However, the struggle of trying to come up with ways to articulate my thoughts and writing is a worthwhile goal to pursue not only this year but forever.
Writing is like trying to exercise every day. It requires constant and forever efforts.
It is not the goal to arrive at but the one to keep going with.
Although I can’t add a checkmark next to writing every day on last year’s January resolution list, I believe I’m getting closer each year.
Just maybe, the end of the year 2022 would be the year I will find writing to be easier or more, enjoyable than my 5:00am morning routine!