Celebrating 1,000 Consecutive Days of Writing

"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going." -- Jim Ryun

Today {April 9, 2016} is a huge day for me – today I celebrate 1,000 consecutive days writing at least 1,000 words per day. This is a tremendous personal as well as professional milestone for me, and I’m thrilled to have reached it. This all started back on July 15, 2013 when I began working on Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way.” I was looking to connect with my creative side and this book was recommended to me as the way to get there. I’m happy to say that it worked, and that book opened up a whole new arena of thinking and understanding for me. It changed my life, in short.

Part of “The Artist’s Way” is something called Morning Pages. It’s supposed to be three long hand written sheets that help to clear the mental gunk and allow for better focus later in the day. Being committed to living a fully digital life, I decided to type up three pages each morning. I did those morning pages every day for the 15 weeks of the course. When I was done with the course, I was already three months along on a daily writing habit. Once I’d made it that far, I figured I’d just keep going with it. Why not?

Another inspiration for me in my daily writing practice is writer and podcast host Srinivas Rao. He’s the author of several books and produces a bi-weekly podcast The Unmistakable Creative (along with many other projects). He was the first to introduce me to the idea of a daily writing habit — even before I’d read “The Artist’s Way.” He was (and still is) doing at least 1,000 words each morning, so I figured I’d use that number as well. It’s a nice round number and for me, it typically takes only 20 minutes or so to knock that out. Not bad at all!

Writing daily has allowed me to write over 1,000,000 words in the last 1,000 days. It’s made me more productive and has allowed me to figure out more about myself than any other endeavor I’ve taken on. During the last thousand days, I hit several other writing milestones. Below are the most meaningful ones…

  • I’ve kept my Culicurious site active and have even refined the focus quite a bit (125 posts authored by me)
  • I researched and co-authored a book on Southeast Louisiana foodways with my husband Jeremy. (60,000+ words total)
  • I launched our Culture Curious blog with Jeremy and we’ve been keeping it active since. (30 blog posts authored by me)
  • I also launched this blog–my personal blog–where I’ve authored 89 posts.
  • I’ve done several guest posts on other peoples’ sites and short stints as a freelancer. (37 posts and articles authored by me)
  • I’ve also landed a part time job researching and writing about Southeast Louisiana Food culture for a national brand with Louisiana roots (it’s background work not attributed to me, and I’m not able to disclose the brand since I work on the deep “back end” for this company via a PR firm).

What’s most fascinating to me is that nearly all of the additional bits of writing listed above don’t overlap with my 1,000 word per day writing habit. I do my best to keep that separate from my professional writing work because my daily writing is a place for me to explore ideas and thoughts and things in my mind and heart (full disclosure: there’s about a one percent overlap where I used assigned writing to fill my daily quota). It’s quite fair to say that in the last 1,000 days I’ve written more like 1.5 million words – not just a million. Frankly, this blows my mind. I didn’t imagine I’d written so much until I laid it out here.

And today — Day 1,000 – is just another day in the books. I’ve already journaled this morning and when I wake up tomorrow morning, I’ll do the same. Daily writing is such a deep and entrenched part of my life now that it’s as natural to me as brushing my teeth or showering. It’s just part of what I do every single day. It’s part of who I am. I have no plans to slow down or to stop. I hope to make it to 10,000 days in a row writing. That’s not a bad goal to have.

Having a daily habit like writing has taught me that I’m capable of so much more than I initially realized. Daily writing also taught me that it’s about commitment to a craft. Most of what I write never sees the light of day. It’s for me, and it goes back to “The Artist’s Way.” I write each day so I can clear the cobwebs of my mind and grease the wheels. By sitting down and committing myself to my craft, I’ve learned that it’s about the practice itself: putting myself in that position every day, putting my fingers to the keyboard each morning so that path between the fingers and the brain stays well-worn. It’s about keeping that particular line of communication open and well-maintained.

At the end of the day, I’m a writer, and to continue to call myself that, I must write. So I start each day with writing. By doing so, I affirm to myself each day that I am a writer. I write therefore I’m a writer. It’s that easy. I don’t get hung up on titles and lofty ideas. I write so I’m a writer. Done. It really is that simple. Do you want to be a writer too? Put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and just get started. Then keep moving.