Day 20 on leveling up
When we commit to a new routine, our enthusiasm and perceptions vastly underestimate the effort.
In my case, I took on a challenge in order to re-establish priorities and rebuild my discipline. I wanted to finish fleshing out the idea and publish thoughts as they emerged. In my mind, my blog as a semi-public outlet of my thought processes, meant I’d be sharing my take on new information and inspire potential collaborators/clients to engage with me.
I started blogging many years ago. The ratio of unpublished to published posts I estimate on my first blog is almost ten to one. My second blog narrowly focuses on 10 years of strategy topics I’ve curated and then discussed among professional peers. Capturing the interaction required much more than merely providing meeting minutes. Those posts turned into serious labor of love often prompting me to explore the topic more thoroughly and track down references and/or support data. My commitment to the discussion and article curation was sufficiently demanding that the “notes” too often are left in draft and go unpublished.
Framestretching was decidedly different on two accounts. One it accompanied a new business partnership and was designed to support our business development. Second, the posts were thought pieces and described our own internal creative processes. When the business partners moved on unexpectedly, the blog went inactive.
So the writing challenge seemed to be the inspiration to renew my acquaintance with inactive subscribers and revive my discipline. The writing on any given day of the challenge was triggered by a prompt. Here are my preliminary reflections on the experience.
- Unlike swimming or riding a bicycle, muscle memory associated with our verbal communication abilities is insufficient to make the writing just flow again.
Writing expresses thoughts and requires some advance work in order to structure and order the words and patterns of speech. A simple sentence as it appears forces our brain to revisit and revise before we may have fully expressed the thoughts. I was rusty and had to stop myself from overthinking. It took a few days to clear the cobwebs.
- The process of letting the ideas just flow and discovered what we are truly trying to express takes a lot more days of practice than any of us anticipate. I remember years ago my first post-college writing efforts used the exercise of morning pages to journal whatever was in my head and just keep writing.
The public nature of blogging and this challenge demanded considerably more self-edits and discipline. So I too would scribble my initial reactions to the prompt on a scrap of paper, try to associate it with my theme and let it simmer for a bit. Some of the responses untapped a great spring and others a dryer well. Either way, I had succeeded that first week in posting and publishing within 24 hours.
The longer I waited in the day to begin finalizing I found I could explore deeper without interruption and the posts were longer. If I waited too long to get started as I did in week two, I found I cut myself slack when the inspiration was weak.
I discovered how much my self-edit process preferred having overnight rest to piece and re-piece the connections together effectively. My biggest regret was the disruption of family events that put a wrench in my schedule causing me to travel and limit my time to think to very short intervals. That week I didn’t get anything published on time.
- By the 3rd week I found that I had regained some muscle memory the natural prose has loosened up and I could speak and write with some fluency.
4. The series of prompts surprised me for their ever-present contributions to remind me to utilize their suggestive power to conjure a richer context for my readers. For example, not just use prose but let an image enhance my descriptions of activities with colorful tones and references easily recognizable to readers.
5. Finally, I would be remiss if I fail to mention how the efforts expanded both my own sense of my topic (leveling up) and insights on my wider practices of framestretching. This last point was an unanticipated bonus. I had forgotten how writing changes how we think, and by continuing regularly active writing our thoughts evolve and expand.
Note, I spent at least 3 hours per day thinking about the prompt in connection to my topic and or then scribbling it out. Occasionally, I was efficient and could transcribe the prose from paper to digital format without extra effort. When I returned to my own environment I began to type on the PC my emergent thoughts that may or may not have started on scratch paper. Finding the right tools has also enhanced my efficiency. efficient.
This post is a record. I stewed on the idea for several days and happily managed to write from start to finish within an hour. With cutting and pasting to the blog and reposting to Facebook, it will be my fastest production. Curious to hear if it hits the mark.