On routines

Tonight I’m celebrating a small milestone as we tumble into the 2nd month of the year. Over the past 31 days I’ve succeeded in establishing a writing routine. It’s not perfect—not by a long shot, with many rushed entries and nights staying up too late to finish—but it’s something. To date I’ve written essays exclusively. The format comes naturally to me, and I enjoy ruminating on past memories. Going forward I want to mix in some fiction and longer essays. I may write less in my daily entries in order to put more time into substantial pieces.

More than anything, it’s been fun realizing the ways in which I am both strong and exceptionally weak in writing. My corollary is teaching myself—over the course of 6 years—what is now my profession. The first time you teach yourself something and became a so-called “expert” at it, you don’t often notice the process. You’re fueled by a blind ambition to do it, and do it all the time. By the time you’re good enough to call yourself A Something™ you barely remember when and how you learned everything you know.

It’s slightly different the second go-round. Your success in another area of your life makes you impatient. You know what it feels like to be proficient at something and it’s a drag when it takes substantial time to even become mediocre at a new thing. It’s a brilliant lesson in patience.

So here’s to one month down and a lifetime worth of months to go.