My New Year’s Resolution

Although each pebble may not be special on its own, when enough of them are collected, a beautiful pattern emerges. This is the same approach I am taking with my writing habits. While one hour in the morning may not be enough to write a whole article, little by little, the sentences will add up and the blog will grow.

I’ve been away from this blog in the last few months. I didn’t write as often as I wanted and published even less. I wrote several articles but never managed to finalize and post them. The apparent inactivity was not because of some underlying problem but because, for a while, other things had higher priorities.

But as I looked into the new year, it was evident that I wanted to find a way to write more often in 2024.

I genuinely enjoy writing this blog. By thinking and writing about photography and personal changes, I clarify my views and ideas and put my photography skills and career in the proper perspective.

In addition, It forces me to practice writing readable stories. Throughout my entire career, I have been writing complex technical and process documents. These texts are meant to be read by knowledgeable professionals and are typically very wordy and full of jargon. The blog forces me to say things clearly and in as few sentences as possible, which makes for a stimulating challenge. It also builds a new skill. As I’m getting used to this kind of writing, I am starting to notice how painfully and unnecessarily complex most documents I exchange in my work are.

So, I like to write, which benefits my photography project. I should sit down to write more often, right? Well, yes, but as usual, it is a bit more complex than that.

On the one hand, with writing, I’m still relatively slow. It takes time for me to start filling empty pages, especially after extended breaks. And even when I write them, I’m trying to make the text as readable as possible. That means an additional editing phase where many sentences get thrown away, rewritten, and simplified. The deletion part is challenging. You must keep admitting to yourself that parts of your work were misplaced, unnecessary, or poorly done. As with all other things, you get better with practice, but it still requires time for me to do it.

On the other hand, some other things need to come first in the next few months. Starting a blog and introducing myself to the online world was one of my main tasks in the first half of the last year. Now that the blog has structure and has been published, it should only play a supporting role. As I plan to work on critical next steps in the following months, many other things will need my attention. So, consistently finding time for writing during regular working hours will not be possible for a while.

How about doing it after work?

I dedicate the time right after work and late afternoons to my family and avoid planning work and away time.

Evenings work great for creative work. Something about the end of the day calm makes it perfect for getting into flow and working on something without pressure. I often do complex photo editing in the evening, which would also be an excellent time for writing. However, I avoid planning evening activities strictly as my available time, mood, and energy level often depend on the day’s dynamic. Like late airline flights, evening tasks are more likely to change, delay, or cancel due to events and problems that accumulate during the day. And for me, there is no point in setting plans that you know you can’t stick to.

Yes, plans should stretch you. You typically don’t progress by being comfortable, but the plans should also be achievable. Otherwise, you just quickly get used to skipping tasks, which will make you fail. And stressed because of the fact that you are failing.

So, the plan doesn’t have to be easy to achieve, but it has to be realistic. How can I make it so? Where can I find time to write more regularly?

Thinking about it, I kept returning to the famous saying: “You will never ‘find’ time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.” The unpleasant truth is that “making the time” almost always means you have to get rid of something else.

I cannot eliminate other work I plan to do as they are the vital next steps. I am also not willing to push aside family and personal quality time. So, my only option was to change some of my habits. One change that has a chance to work is the morning routine.

But changing the morning routine will require significant dedication and willpower. I’m not a morning person at all. Getting up is one of the most challenging things for me on a regular day. I would happily press the snooze button for hours or do just about anything to squeeze in an extra few minutes of sleep. And when I do get up, it takes time for me to be fully present and productive.

Still, I decided to get up an hour before my girls and immediately start to write. No coffee, checking social networks, news, or any other distractions. Just a quick 5-minute meditation, some “jazz at work” soundtrack, and starting to write.

Admittedly, I’ve been there before. Getting up early to exercise or read is a typical self-help recommendation. I have also considered it at some point. And I would often give up before even trying. So why would this time be any different?

The main reason is that I never have problems motivating myself to get up early and get going when I take sunrise photos or prepare for an early flight. It is different when you truly enjoy something and want to do it. I also know it doesn’t matter much at what time and after how much sleep I wake up. It always seems equally difficult. So, the determination to make it work and the realization that the effort is worth my while will be critical for the success.

So, does it work?

In a word, yes. As expected, it isn’t easy to wake up earlier, but the benefits outweigh the effort. I started a week ago, and this entire article was written that way. I’m sure that if I manage to keep it up, I will be able to post more often, which was precisely the reason for starting this new habit.

And it gets even better. Starting with a significant win so early in the morning sets up an excellent frame for the entire day. I am able to get up to speed with the following tasks more quickly and stay concentrated for longer. It even helped me finish a few long-standing tasks and positively impacted more things than just my writing.

The plan is to keep doing it for a while. At a minimum, until I finish the next phase of my development plan. I didn’t set any specific target on how much text I needed to produce. I just intend to write every morning and let it add up.

After I publish this article, I will even have you as an accountability partner. Everyone can tell whether I’m successful in sticking to my new morning routine by observing the frequency of newly posted blog articles. Now, I can’t just give up and pretend I never seriously meant to do it.

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