Thus Ends the Streak

If you’ve been reading here regularly, I’ve been writing a post per day since July 18th of this year, save my company meetup in October. This represents streaks of 86 and 50 days, good for 136 posts in 144 days.

But I’m giving up on posting every day, now. The point was never to post every day; the point was to write regularly, because I can’t be a writer unless I write. The streak is over for two reasons.

Firstly, it just started to feel too pressure-filled. I wasn’t enjoying it. If something is going to fill your time, you should enjoy it some of the time.

Secondly, the requirement to post every day had moved me towards link-blogging rather than, well, writing. I don’t have enough psychic space every day to write an essay, but that’s still what interests me.

I’m going to keep writing, but probably less frequently, and maybe not always here, either. Thanks for joining me in this experiment.

Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret

A recent article on Medium quotes from a delightfully old Lifehacker article where a young Brad Isaac asks Jerry Seinfeld if he had any tips for a young comic. The advice is gold, and not just for comics:

He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day… He revealed a unique calendar system he uses to pressure himself to write. Here’s how it works.

He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.

He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”

“Don’t break the chain,” he said again for emphasis.

What I love about this is that it’s what I’m trying to do every day on this blog: not breaking the chain. And then I thought that it would be cool if there was some type of visualization for this unbroken chain, and sure enough, WordPress.com’s Stats → Insights has me covered:

stats-insights

Skipping one day makes it easier to skip the next.

Not today.

Posting Every Day

This marks the 17th consecutive day that I’ve posted something on this blog. I’m pretty sure that’s the most I’ve ever done. At then end of 2011, I tried to game myself into posting 67 days in a row, but I only made it to 16.1

I’ve considered various schemes for resurrecting my writing on this blog. Here are all of the things that never worked for me:

  • finding a topic I’m passionate about before starting to write
  • any type of posting schedule that wasn’t every day
  • caring about pleasing or displeasing certain cantankerous people with what I have to say
  • needing to redesign my site before I can post again2

I don’t know if I can keep this up, and I’m not going to let wondering about that paralyze me. It’s not that hard to find the time to post one thing every day.


  1. I missed the 17th day, and then got seven more for 23 posts in 24 days. Then two missed days, followed by a rapid drop off to only eight more post in the year. 32 out of 67 days. 
  2. I have no less than three redesigns in various states of completion. I should probably just find a nice WordPress theme from one of my Automattic colleagues. 

Such Great Heights

When I first became a Christian, I attended Winnipeg’s own megachurch for some time. Although I now reject much of what that church taught me, many of the catchphrases I heard there continue to jangle about in my skull.

Take the following pithy statement:

I’d rather shoot for the starts and land on the moon than shoot for the mud and hit it every time.

Like all good proverbs, the metaphors at work here do a number of things. There’s up vs down, large vs small, success vs failure—although the success in the second aim is pyhrric.

But the core idea is in setting your ambitions so much higher than what you think is possible, and to go for it. Not only this, but be willing to fail, be discouraged, and get disappointed in the process. Just keep in mind that failure might just look like landing on the moon.

But I’ve always wondered about the moon part, specifically, what would happen if I shot for the moon? The moon is a pretty solid achievement; definitely worth shooting for. But the sneaking suspicion latent in this aphorism is that, although we’re capable of reaching the moon, we won’t reach it by shooting for it. It’s only when our target is far beyond that we’ll reach such great heights.

This lesson has come home to roost in my ambition to post every day until the end of the year. I’ve missed a few days, and more recently, which has been discouraging. But I’ve made 28 posts in 36 days, or about 5.5 posts per week. If I’d said to myself “I’d like to post 5–6 times per week,” that I would have been anywhere near as prolific in my prose output. Although I was pretty sure I wouldn’t achieve my initial post-per-day goal, I’m glad I shot for the stars.

Thank You

This recent commitment to blogging every day is going to be hard. How will I come up with enough to say? What if it stinks? Do I really have to write every day?

Then I realized that my perspective was all wrong. I get to write every day, and the crazy thing is that some people will actually read this. We have these things called the World Wide Web and easy-to-use software like WordPress that let me instantly make my thoughts available to nearly everyone on the planet.

This potential is beyond the wildest dreams of most authors in most places at most times. And I take it for granted every time I feel like not speaking with you, dear reader. So thank you. Thank you for having let your flitting about the web cease long enough to alight upon these words.

Voice, Audience & Eavesdropping

Writing about blogging is generally uninteresting and, although I’ve done much of it in the past, I now dismiss thoughts of writing something on the subject as so much navel-gazing and tedium. But my post count hasn’t advanced for a couple of days, making it time to push something, anything, out.

A problem I’m facing as I’m restarting this blog is finding my voice, or more accurately, struggling to define my audience. In the early days, my main audience was church friends. That made things simple: I was talking to people I already knew. Later, as blogging exploded, I interacted with people in the Emerging Church conversation, on both my and others’ blogs.

My interest in the Emerging Church waned as I discovered that its “newness” wasn’t all that new and as I turned to more diverse and nuanced sources for faith & theology. I undertook a Liberal Arts degree, meaning that most of my writing was being done in a more formal, offline context. The blog became a refuge of informality; a place to personally reflect on my learning journey and post silly things.

And then I was done school, with an Honours degree in the Humanities and the absurd notion of becoming a professional web designer with no portfolio, experience, or connections. Surprisingly–and slowly–I succeeded, and this blog, and its audience, withered.

And figuring out this blog’s audience is the point of writing this. I want to know who I’m writing for, and I see that I’ve had a shifting audience all along. First friends, then EC people, then some mixture of myself and all of the above. Now throw in the possibility of some people in the web design/development community, and I have a hodgepodge of I-don’t-know-who-I’m-talking-to.

The solution, dear reader, is obvious. I shouldn’t give a shit about you. This site is for me. It has an audience of one.[ref]Understanding this tempts me to uninstall my Google Analytics stats.[/ref] I’m going to write things that I want to read and, if there happens to be other people who also enjoy eavesdropping on me, great. It’s not that I don’t want people to read what I write–any writer who tells you otherwise is a liar–but I don’t want to get paralyzed by figuring out who my audience is so that I can write things that they’ll like will make them like me.

As a small sign of this, I’ve decided that I’m going to consciously try to stop using the noun blog and the verb blogging in describing this site. This may seem a bit precious, but I’m not writing this for you. I’m writing this for the type of people who, like me, prefer existing nouns like journal or website and verbs such as writing to describe what happens on a website like this. I’m writing this for the types of people who, like me, associate blogging with first drafts hastily published.[ref]I’m not denigrating blogging, which is great, but I don’t publish first drafts any more on this site.[/ref]

I’m also writing as a person who does a crappy job of being a disciple of Jesus but who nevertheless sees everything in life through the lens of that faith. Don’t like it? I don’t always either, but if I’m not writing on topics of faith & theology regularly, I’m not writing for myself. I’d be writing to not offend, which produces only tedious prose.

The big upshot of all of this is that I have a standby comeback when my wife says “nobody will know (or care about) what you’re talking about.”