I’m not Catholic, but I usually practice Lent.
Lent is how I quit biting my nails. It’s certainly the only time I’ve gone 40 days without dessert. It’s also how I stopped putting down a jar of peanut butter in 48 hours (don’t tell me you haven’t done it).
This year I couldn’t decide what to give up. My friend Keena is giving up alcohol. My roommate is giving up snacks at work. I considered sacrificing trail mix (honestly, I eat it all the time) or dining out (but what’s the fun in that).
Last night, I was sitting in my living room picking Maranie’s brain about photography. I flipped through the folder she brought with her, amazed a self-taught photographer could take such gorgeous photos. To me, every print belonged in National Geographic.
“You know what you need to do?” She told me, “You need to start carrying your camera everywhere you go. Take one picture, every day. Just one.”
I looked at Maranie and her camera sitting on my coffee table. I thought about carrying my camera into a bar for boozy Sunday brunch. I thought about setting my nice camera next to a pitcher of bottomless mimosas. I thought about one of my drunk friends knocking said camera off the table.
“I’m…not sure I want to do that.”
“I don’t know. I just, I just don’t want to carry it. I hate throwing it in my backpack. I always think something will happen to it.”
Clearly, she did not approve of my answer.
But that got me thinking—I may not be willing to take a photo every day, but I would be willing to write every day. What if, for forty days, I pledged to write a blog post every single day? [Except Saturdays. Let’s face it, you’re never going to read this thing on a Saturday.]
Besides, I ate trail mix the first day of Lent—so that idea has already gone to shit.
I pitched the idea to Maranie. “Or, you could not set yourself up failure, and aim to post every-other-day, or at least twice a week.”
I’m an extremist in everything I do. I wish I were this chill, lax person who could maintain everything in moderation, but that’s just not the way I’m wired. Every time I attempt to break a habit, routine, you name it—I have to do an overhaul on my current state.
My brother is the same way. Three years ago, I watched him go through a complete transformation. He lost over fifty pounds by following a ketogenic diet. When I asked him what boundaries he set for himself, his response was, “I only ate things with five grams of carbs or less.” Meaning, no fruit, sweet potatoes, squash, you name it. He ate three desserts in an entire year, one of which was a Reese’s egg my mom gave him at Easter (I’m still not sure that counts).
To say I was proud is an understatement. I was more mesmerized any human could maintain that level of self-control. I’ll never forget when he told me, “For me, it’s just easier to not even make it an option.”
Amen to that.
Two years ago, one of my best friends quit smoking. She put herself on her own step-by-step program, giving herself X amount of months at each stage (only smoking on the weekends, only smoking when drunk, etc.) She followed her self-designed schedule to a T. On her goal date, she set down her last cigarette and never looked back.
Blew my fucking mind.
To me, a step-by-step, middle-of-the road approach sounds like absolute hell. My brain doesn’t see the difference between a middle step, and a compromise. Plus, I have this terrible habit that whenever I compromise, my brain says, “Well, you already caved on x-y-z, so one more time won’t hurt.”
To me, it is easier to form a new habit by going through an all-in, blitz first. All that middle ground stuff can come afterward.
And for that reason, and that reason only, I find it easier to promise six blog posts per week over three. I’ll never have to ask myself, “What days do I post on?” or “I’m one post short, do I post two in one day?” I just know that every day, I’ll be typing on this computer. And hopefully, it will become part of my routine—like brushing my teeth or going on a run.
I know at the end of every blog post, writers will make a half-assed attempt at engaging the audience by asking a question. But I really do need your input here. Is it unrealistic to expect to write a post every day* (remember my Saturday rule) for 40 days? And would my social media become really, really annoying?
Thoughts please. And thank you.