I’ve been having a hard time with inspiration, lately. I even moved back to WordPress to hopefully make the writing process as painless for myself as possible. It’s taken a lot of time and effort to figure out what it is about now compared to last year that’s made it so hard to want to write on a regular basis.
I switched back to WordPress because although I had several complaints, Jekyll just wasn’t something that would scale. When I think of my blog, I think of a place I can drop in some prose and publish. A static site generator isn’t really going to give me a sense of completeness that I would need.
I could publish link posts every day, but I don’t have the traffic to warrant that being even worth the time. It would be better if I added up a few different links and reflected on them at the end of the week.
There are things I want to write about, but the motivation really isn’t there. I know at the core it’s all about “just doing it,” but I had a hard time pushing myself in the majority of 2015.
Remembering what the start of 2015 was like, I was firing things off left and right, really kicking ass, and I was enjoying it. I even remember the post I did about someone wearing Ugg boots to an interview. That was today, one year ago. I also had a morning routine. Perhaps that’s the key, right there. I knew I had to leave for work early, and I knew the best time to sit and write was in the morning, so I sat down before the rooster woke and wrote. It was amazing what I could get done in 30-45 minutes.
In 2015 I wrote about 90,000 words, give or take. I’d like to see myself add another 100,000 this year. Based on some iPhone calculator math, if I started tomorrow, that’s a mere 279 words per day. I’ve already crossed that line in this post.
In theory this should be easy. One post per day, 279 words or more. Hell, let’s make it an even 300. That’ll bring me into the 107K range, a great buffer. But let’s say I only manage five posts per week. There are about 50 whole weeks left in the year, so that’s 2000 words per week. Divide that by five posts per week and we’re at 400 words. Also something I could do, as this whole post only took me ten minutes, so far.
I don’t have a doubt in my mind that I have the mental capacity to write 400 words a day. My day job involves providing top-notch customer support and I probably cover five times that in our ticketing system.
The tools I use shouldn’t be a problem. I purchased a new system a few months ago and it’s been the best investment I’ve made in the computer department since my last Mac in 2011. Last I heard from its current owner, the system is running perfectly fine 4.5 years later.
So let’s think some more about this. What was my routine really? I woke up between 3:30 and 4:00 AM, Monday-Friday. I was out of the bathroom by 4:30 and had coffee in my hand at around 4:40. Between 4:45 and 5:15 I was at my desk, typing away, working on various thoughts that I would then publish to my blog. There was one day I think I hit six posts. They weren’t very long, individually, but six different topics crossed my mind in that half hour period.
By 5:30 I was out the door. Most people I talked to told me that getting up that early was insane. A lot of them didn’t realize that although I didn’t have to be at work until 7:00 AM, I was catching the bus at 5:45 AM. I didn’t have much choice in that matter. Any later and I would miss the 7:00 AM mark.
It’s not like now where the time I have to be at work isn’t really set in stone and if needed I can start my day at home…
Hang on. I think that’s it. Because I don’t have a strict schedule at work, I haven’t been able to find the reasoning and support behind the idea of having a strict morning routine at home. Most weekday mornings, I’m up between 6:30 and 7:30 and checking emails, getting an idea of what the day will hold, and don’t show up at the office until 8:30 or 9:00. Since I can be all flim-flam on when I start—a.k.a. get into the office—I don’t get up at the same time every day. Some days I work from home, too, which also makes things crazy.
Speaking of working from home, I don’t think I would have this problem if I did all in-office or all at-home. If I worked from home every day, I’d have to create a new routine, almost like a ritual, because where I work during the day should be exclusively for work, and nothing else.
Does this mean I should get another computer? Dear God, I hope not. My credit card can’t take another hit like that.
I mean sitting at my desk during the day. If I’m sitting at that desk between whatever hours I work, I should be working. If I don’t want to work, I need to get up from that desk. If I still want to sit on my computer, I need to unplug it and take it with me.
It’s either that or I find a coworking space, which could set me back as much as $500 a month. Ouch. I’d get more benefit out of renting a larger apartment with more square footage.
So now that I’ve figured out what my problem is and the root cause, how can I fix it? Well, I guess a good start would be setting a time in the morning to wake and forcing myself to get my ass out of bed at that time, no matter how much I’d rather sleep. I honestly haven’t had my alarm go off in weeks, and I’ve been waking at about the same time, every day, so I can tell right away that this will be a bit of a jarring experience.
As I write this, I opened my phone and set my FitBit to buzz at 6:00 AM. Let’s see how this goes, first. If my FitBit can’t get me up (or I’m so far in dreamland that I don’t realize what that far-off buzzing means), I’ll re-set my actual iPhone alarm clock.
I also need to tell myself that I will be in “work mode” (at the office or at my desk working) by 8:00 AM. I have a 25 minute commute by car so that gives me a good hour between 6:30 and 7:30 AM to make coffee (or pour cold brew) and do what I do best.
Being able to put words on paper has never been a problem for me. When I started writing this, though, I didn’t expect it would get this far. I really just meant to sit down and reflect for a minute, kind of hash out the problem in real time as I type. I had no actual plan, or anything.
Sometimes that’s what makes some of what I write so good (in my opinion). I once sat at my desk and wrote for 30 minute straight and came up with some pretty interesting things.
At this point I’m wondering if I’ll remember all the places where I wanted to place links to other stuff. I’ll have to go through this post again. I just realized the app I’m using allows me to place hyperlinks in the text, WYSIWYG style (Microsoft Word-style, for the non-technical folk reading this).
With links out of the way, I got to thinking. Looking at all these posts I wrote in 2015 (257 to be exact), I should really be proud of myself. At the beginning of the year, I didn’t think I’d make it this far. I put down a lot of thoughts and pondered a lot of things. I tagged a lot of things. One of the best books I ever read was mentioned in at least eleven posts. I did a 10-day blog challenge. I reflected on what it was like living in California after just a few days. As of this writing, I’m still here. I also covered the moving process, too. Spoiler: it sucked.
I think that’s about all I have. It felt really good to get all this out there. I have some topics for tomorrow and provided my plan works, I’ll have some new posts, too! My Reading List in Safari always has links pertaining to things on my mind.
Right now, though, the only thing on my mind is shutting down for the night.
Tomorrow is a new day.
Just like 2015, I (hopefully) restarted blogging on January 6th. It’s been exactly one year and we’re doing it all over again. 100,000 words. 300-400 words per day. Five to seven posts per week. One (sort of) new routine. A killer 2016. Nice rhyme.