Blogging is fun again.

Today will mark the 16th consecutive day of posting here. Easily my longest streak. And you know what? It’s fun again.

Each day I post. Each day I feel good about it. Then I look forward to posting again tomorrow.

All of my favorite procrastination techniques have become null and void:

  1. The pressure to Win the Internet is gone. There’s no time to wait around for an industry changing idea to write about. You’d better pick a topic and then figure out how to write about it.

  2. I also can’t spend hours indulging myself with workflows or platforms or fiddling with different notes apps. There’s writing to be done. No matter how ridiculous or small or silly.

  3. When I’m posting to my own site, I only have to worry about what I think. I don’t have to think about algorithms or recommendations or any of the other nonsense that only proves you know how to dress for whichever dinner party you’re attending.

This is all good. Progress! Defying the odds. Sharpening the grey-matter. All of that…

7 Days of Blogging

Today is my 7th consecutive day of writing and publishing online. This is the most I’ve ever done. Or that I remember doing.

After a difficult second day, things started to click.

It helped a lot when Russell and Erik both noticed what I was doing. That gave me a kick in the pants, and was affirming from the standpoint of “hey, people I really respect are paying attention!”

Finding topics has become fairly easy. I’ve been clearing out the dark, dusty corners of various drafts folders, as well as finally building out ideas that have been laying dormant between folds of grey matter, covered in cobwebs.

Writing about the process for 3 out of the 4 days probably means that I’ve cheated. But I have so many more ideas now than I did before, so even if the output was a bit focused on the process itself, I’ve seen real benefits in terms of idea generation.

Some of the new ideas have come from editing posts down for single-mindedness. But I think I’ve also managed to shrug off my internal topic sensor. My list of ideas has grown pretty long.

When it comes to the writing itself, knowing that there will be a new post to write tomorrow has helped to control the urge to bludgeon every post perfect for publishing in the New York Times. In the past, that perfectionism has stopped me from finishing a post, or even starting a new one, in the past.

Oh, and since I’ve been trying to actually write, rather than my usual links with pull-quotes, I’ve been spending much less time in search of interesting things to post. That time, which usually didn’t result in anything besides too much time in an RSS reader, has been put to much better use at the keyboard.

It’s also helping to prime-the-pump on my work days. It gets my mind turning, my fingers used to putting together ideas, and I’m free of the ridiculous pressure I’ve put on myself to do more writing.

I feel good about it so far.

Let’s keep going.

Let’s see what happens.

Returning to Facebook

Once Again Rubbing Glass for Dopamine Pellets

It was a reflex. My brain constantly aching for that hit of dopamine. Stopped at a red light, Facebook opened. Kid taking a bath, Facebook opened. Laying in bed to go to sleep. Facebook opened.

Scrolling scrolling scrolling. Hitting the Like Button. Commenting on things I shouldn’t.

I grew frustrated with Facebook and deactivated my account back in December of 2015. I wanted to see what the holidays would be like without having white and blue frames burned into my corneas.

It was much easier than I anticipated.

I had no desire to get back on. I didn’t miss Facebook at all.

So it went for another seven months. Life was good.

I finally re-activated my account last week. I’d like to blame the wine or the inscrutable second season of Mr. Robot, but it just kind of happened.

Stepping back into the fray after being gone for so long comes with a new sense of perspective. I’m not using it nearly as much as I used to. It actually feels bad to use it. Like eating a bunch of fast food after a strict diet.

It’s amazing how easily thoughts get inceptioned into your head while scrolling through the feed. Only a few swipes scrolling through my feed yesterday left me feeling stressed out, a little angry, and like I needed to go argue on the Internet. I managed to resist, but the posts that I had a reaction to were cycling through my head randomly throughout the rest of the day.

Be careful about letting other people put thoughts into your head.

It’s horrifying when you haven’t been immersed in it and you see the insanity wrapping it’s blue tentacles around you. It gets into your mind and just metastasizes there. Some awful corrupt file that can’t be deleted.

Stay Frosty.

I’m going to keep my account open for now. It is useful. And they have my friends and family.

But I’m going to remain vigilant about not getting pulled back in like I was before: looking through the feed compulsively, trolling Trump supporters, sharing passive-aggressive articles.

My new approach is to think of Facebook as a mass medium or a polite dinner party at church. No politics. No over the top jokes. Try not to be a jerk or to provoke anyone. Smile politely and make sure your shirt is tucked in.

Keep it strictly life-updates and pictures of kids.

That’s what it’s good at.

I’ll just go to Twitter if I want to get yelled at.

Working a System

It’s how people sit down everyday to grind out new ideas and make new things. It’s showing up. Everyday.

It’s also how we keep Mr. Robot out of our heads.

It took me a long time to appreciate habit. I grew up without any. Smoking was the my first real habit, but I haven’t even had a cigarette in twelve years.

This all changed in March of 2015 when I started a new workout program. The name of the program isn’t important – it’s also embarrassing – What matters is that it removed the burden of having to think.

There was no question, no room for rationalization. Nominees for internet searches or second guessing. Putting it off until “tomorrow” just wasn’t an option unless I wanted to progress more slowly through the system.

I’m still going six days a week, and it still kills me to have to take one day off per week.

This is where I’d like to get with writing. A place where the default is sitting down, cranking out some ideas, and publishing.

Everyday.

All of this nonsense isn’t for you. It’s for me.

And really, it’s utility isn’t for right now. It’s for later.

Day 2 Has Been Hard.

After making an inadvisable declaration that I would be posting every day for the next seven days, I was worried most about the weekend. When would I be able to find the time to write with the kids around and the activities of the weekend to contend with?

Well, it turns out that Day Two is an asshole. That’s right. Friday. The last day of the work week. The optimism of an upcoming weekend. The drive to get the week tied up neatly. None of it helped.

Writing hasn’t been the problem. I’ve been wrestling several ongoing ideas and haven’t been able to pin any of them down into something coherent.

I’m going to chalk this up to two things:

  1. My brain is flabby after the summer.
  2. I’m being too precious…still feeling the need to make each one into a head-exploding, uranium-enriched, knowledge-bomb.

But this is the point of the challenge. It would be easy enough to just hang it up for the day and try again tomorrow. Then tomorrow, it would be easy to push till Sunday. Then on Sunday, it would be easy to point to Monday as the right time to start, being the beginning of the week and all.

It’s the habit that matters at this point.