The 1000 words daily rule.
“Again and again, the cicada’s untiring cry pierced the sultry summer air like a needle at work on thick cotton cloth.”
― Yukio Mishima, Runaway Horses
I have been avoiding my laptop for the last week. Every time I think of writing I fetch an excuse. They range from cold feet to sweaty palms. I am normally an extremely conscientious, hard-working guy. I love getting stuff done. Give me a goal and some tools and watch me go. I can hoover them up before most other people.
But I am also the same person that can’t write a single word if I don't have a deadline or an urgent itch to share. So I snooze in my hammock of excuses.
One of the excuses recently has been — I have nothing to say.
Well, I do.
I want to talk about this person that lives inside me that is a master of avoiding doing the hard mental work. This self does not want to wake up the creative self. That sleeping creative self that wants to be free and express itself and pour out poetry with every sentence.
The battle is a constant one. One day I can’t stop writing. Then another when I could not be bothered.
This battle must be arbitrated by my Saturnian self.
Introducing “The 1000 words a day” rule.
I have decided that I will publish 1000 words daily for the rest of this month.
I am borrowing this from my other 100 a day rule.
I do 100 push-ups a day, no matter what and how I feel. 100 push-ups. Two sets of 50. daily.
I don't need a gym. No special clothes. No yoga mat. No special floor. No equipment. No special technique. No instructor. No music. Just me using my body weight to set my heart racing. Daily. No matter what else I might do in terms of exercise. The 100 pushups are set in stone.
I started this 2 years ago. It was slow and painful. I would make 100 excuses. I would skip this in every exercise session. Blame someone,… anyone I could find.
It was hard. Now, it's a habit.
Like brushing my teeth. The impact has compounded. I feel and look great. I needed to do this as I needed a simple but powerful exercise that could get me back into shape and out of a rut. I needed to DO something about my health and stop reading about it or thinking about it.
The 1000 words rule is similar.
It a goal that I can have fun achieving.
I live by the Alan Watts principle of life- Don’t take life seriously but play it sincerely.
The 1000 words a day rule allows me to operate just beyond the level of my current capacity. I enjoy the stretch enough to want to aim for it. And then when I get there I can enjoy looking down from the little mountain top of the steps that I have climbed to get here.
The 1000 words a day allows me to practice my skill of being a writer without the pressure of being a great writer. But as I write I find my flow improves. I get new ideas as I write and I get curious about what my mind will offer up as I type into the screen.
The 1000 words a day also helps me structure my freedom. Otherwise, my freedom sometimes makes me panic. I feel lost in the high ceiling hall of options. I get nervous that nothing is urgent.
The 1000 words a day gives me a mantra that I can chant once a day in pursuit of my joy. Writing is a meditation. It’s a way for me to explore what I feel that I am finding hard to explain. I can go for hours in my head, watching my thoughts dance on the canvas of my mind and leaving no traces or record of the fun I had when it's over. When I write I can capture some of it for posterity. And offer it as a helpful aid to someone who feels like me sometimes.
The 1000 words rule forces me to wear my fear.
I know that Andy Travis will be with me for the rest of my life. I love being Andy Travis. But I am also shit scared that Andy will never become the writer that I want him to be. The reason I created Andy Travis was to wear this fear. The more I become Andy the less I fear him and the more I become my better self. The self, that loves to spend time with his imagination and turn it into useful tools for people who are on the journey of self-transformation.
The 1000 words rule gives me time to cherish myself.
It’s not often that we spend time enjoying our caravan of selves. We tend to operate on repeatable reliable modes of our various selves. The easy ones. The expected ones. The wanted ones. The ones that others depend upon. The 1000 words rule makes me surprise myself with what I find in my mind that makes sense or sounds good or feels wise. It is my time to be me. To be lost in my muse. Knowing that when I come out of this trance, I will have a bunch of thoughts on a page that will hopefully help someone else who is looking for something similar.
The 1000 words a day rule is my strategy for compound interest investment.
Printed words are a writer's only currency. Their value grows with time. They are the only way to tell how far have you come and how many times your mind has been asked to weave a sentence that is written selfishly for the sake of serving someone. If one does not invest with words there is no hope for cashing in on the power of compounding at a later date.
The 1000 words rule is just a small game I have invented to tickle the writer in me to stay turned on. To allow the writer in me to write for the love of it and not for any other motive. Not for the fear of it or the fame of it or the wealth of it. It’s a way to keep me on the path of my unfolding adventure. Find your simple rule to beat the hell out of what is holding you back.