I've been writing every day for about a month now. I don't talk a lot about my daily blogging in real life. Even online, I've only shared a handful of my posts on FB and Instagram. It does take up a chunk of my time though. Somewhere between 30 minutes on the short end and a max of three hours on the long end. Mosts days it's a little less than an hour. But, it's a commitment I made to myself, it's important to me, and it's making me a better writer and thinker.
It's come up a few times in conversation, either because someone saw me working on it or saw that I had shared a post on social media. While most responses are positive, encouraging, etc., there have been a handful of responses of a different kind: some people get just a little bit defensive -- which is kind of odd.
The response usually sounds something like this: "Wow. That's really cool. I definitely don't have time to blog every day though."
Of course, that's not true.
We all have time to write everyday, if we want to. Everyone has the same amount of time, and we fill it up with different things: work, family, eating, exercising, sleeping, watching TV, reading, hanging out, going to class, etc. We all decide how to allocate our hours.
Macklemore has a new song out called "Intentions." It's about the gap between what we say we want and what we actually do. Here's an excerpt:
"I wanna be sober, but I love getting high. Wanna give it 100% but I'm too afraid to try...I wanna get exercise, but I'm too lazy to workout. I want all the finer things, but don't want to go to work now...I wanna live freely, why isn't it so easy? I should read a book but I keep watching this TV, and I know this lifestyle doesn't really feed me, I just tune out to the voice inside that's speaking."
I feel like everyone, or at least most of us, can identify with those words. I definitely can. It's literally so much easier to watch another episode of The Office, even if I've already seen it six times, than it is to do the important stuff that I say I want.
There was a good two year period when I was so overwhelmed by the gap between what I said I wanted and what I was doing that I basically changed nothing in my life, was very unhappy, and kept taking hits to my self esteem. I told myself I wanted to be in shape and run races; I said that I wanted to go to the gym; I wanted to eat healthy and cut out the candy and potato chips from my diet. But I also wanted to write more. And I also wanted to get 10,000 steps a day. And I also wanted to read more books. And I also wanted to study for the GRE. And I also wanted to wake up at 7am every day. And I also wanted to stop watching TV.
And so I did none of that stuff. I just kept doing the easy stuff and filling up my free time with unproductive but relaxing stuff. Eating and watching TV and napping can be super addictive in that way. It's so easy and it quickly becomes habitual.
I'm taking a class called Creativity and Innovation in the d.school at Stanford; tonight we had a mixer/orientation. When I walked in, I noticed a banner hanging from the ceiling with a simple message: "The only way to do it is to do it."
One thing I've learned about myself in the last three years is I don't really want something until my actions prove it. For two years I told myself I wanted to get in shape, but really I liked the idea of being a person who is in shape -- I wasn't actually willing to do the work. I wasn't willing to prioritize it in my life.
That's how I feel when people say, "I don't have time to write." You do, it's just not important enough to you to make time for it and prioritize it.
There's a great Joe Biden quote: "Don't tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value."
The hours in each of our days are like a budget. Don't tell me what you value, show me how you spend your time, and I'll tell you what you value.