Meta Monday: Undaily(ish.)

While I hope no one missed my ramblings for a short week, it felt quite a lot longer.

I gave myself permission to pause my writing here for the last few days.

(And a couple other things.)

Life has a way of steamrolling you from a blind spot now and then, and on the (purely hypothetical) Maslow’s Hierarchy of Creative Needs producing content for a blog is not quite at the peak of the priority pyramid, but it certainly isn’t foundational either. It is simply something that gets deprioritized when there are other more important things to take care of.

That said.

Everything is fine.

Tho.

I needed a few days to wander through the autumn foliage, play some mindless video games, nap in the afternoon, and hunker down on the couch with the dog.

Busy work days. Upsetting decisions by friends and family. Aches and pains from that recent trail race. The news. Local politics. The end of summer. Oh yeah, and a booster shot (for future travelling plans) that floored my immune system for a solid thirty-six hours.

Pause.

Rest.

Reset.

I hope to be back to regularly scheduled posting now.

Unpoliticalish

It’s not that I’m not a political guy. In fact, usually kinda the opposite.

But I’ve made a very deliberate decision to keep this space fairly free of politics and opinion that links (directly) back to those topics.

That said, it’s election day in Canada and today the nation was off to the polls to pick a federal government.

Traditionally, I pour myself a glass of whiskey, settle onto the couch, turn on the television and watch with bated breath as the results start to roll in.

With a country as geographically expansive as Canada, there is literally a rolling in of the results as we cascade east to west waiting for election zones to close down and start reporting results.

My region closed a few minutes ago and numbers have started appearing on the bottom of the screenful of commentators on the CBC coverage.

The glass of whiskey will either be a celebratory drink or a mournful way to drown some political sorrows.

As of now I don’t know which, so I’m sipping and watching and sipping some more.

Daily Goals (and Such)

Back in January of this year I decided to re-invigorate a habit that I’d been neglecting for a long time, and start writing more frequently. You’re reading the results of that effort right now: after more than eight months of daily (with a small break for summer fun) blogging resulting in over two hundred posts to this space.

Daily habits seem trivial, but in my experience become a drumbeat of steady progress towards getting stronger, faster, better, or simply more attuned to the nuances of an effort.

Over that aforementioned summer break I took up a couple more daily habits that have been fitting into my waking routine and are starting to show progress and results.

The first of those habits has been a daily body strength workout, involving a minumum number of push-up and sit-ups and some other equipment free exercises. None of it is a proper workout, but the payoff after two months of, say, thirty push-ups every day has been a cumulative progress towards some creaks and groans that were developing after eighteen months of working from home during the pandemic.

The second (and more interesting) of my new daily habits, and something I wrote about a couple weeks ago, is that I’ve dug into my old (and bought some new) art supplies, and dedicated myself to daily sketching.

If the day has been busy and my time is short, might just draw a simple thing like my car keys, a pen sitting on the table or any other curious object laying around the house. Ten minutes with a pen and a paper.

Or, if I have more time and inclination, then all that inspiration from reading, watching, and absorbing the work of other artists around the theme of rough watercolour sketching turns into a more elaborate project. I’ll snap a photo, dig through my travel pictures, or prop up my notepad out and about in the city and draw a small scene.

The habit of exercising my artistic soul every day has paid off.

The work that I was doing a month ago was not terrible, but it was markedly weaker than just a few weeks of practice has left in its wake. (I won’t even post those early sketches.) I won’t claim to have found some kind of greatness or unlocked a hidden talent, but I am starting to get a feel for my own style and building a great deal of confidence around things I can bring to life on the page. I can only imagine that this will steadily improve over the next months and beyond.

All that (plus two hundred blog posts and some improved upper body strength) from a little daily dedication to a simple idea: habit building.

Back in the Blogging Habit

Nearly a week into September, and coming off a summer blogging break, I’ve had to get myself back in the mindset of writing daily again.

Producing a personal blog with daily content is a lot of work after all.

Not that I’m alone in this kind of effort.

A summer break, as much as it was an interruption in my daily routine, was also a good chance to spend some of my screen time consuming the work of others for a while rather than putting my head down and creating my own.

After all, almost eighteen months into this pandemic, all those other folks who eked out from a world-changing, soul-crushing medical lockdown an opportunity to pursue their passion project — like writing a blog, recording a podcast, or even producing a Youtube channel — many of those folks are now also (as much as) eighteen months into that passion project and seemingly in the mood to share some thoughts on their success.

Like, just this morning I watched a video by an online creator who spent fifteen minutes meandering through the story of her decision to start vlogging about her hobby in March 2020 and the many ways it has changed her life since.

It’s that same old story.

Or at least it’s the same old-but-new story.

In the wake of this terrible moment in history, someone with a curious hobby takes to the internet to fill the digital spaces with their words, photos, art, thoughts, ideas, and opinions.

Time passes.

Lives change.

Positive vibes spread.

My own story fits into that same narrative family, though my success is still something that is (a) much more modest than some of the people I follow back, and (b) largely accidental as I stick to my core philosophy of just writing what I like and not caring much if it ever becomes more than that.

A summer break cemented that resolve to keep building on that story and continuing to see where it takes me.

Letting time pass.

Maybe changing a few lives.

Spreading positive vibes all over the world.

But I do need to work myself back into that daily blogging habit again. And it’s a lot more work than you might think.