The better part of valour
This post, the last of 2016, marks the beginning of a change I have been thinking about for some time: I'm no longer attempting to catch up on posts I have missed. Since I'm behind as of the time I'm writing this, that means I am also immediately flunking out of my "fairly weak formulation" of writing every day, that is to say having written something for each day, even if it was sometimes posted later than that day.
Ultimately, this comes from a realisation that writing every day, at least in the way I've been doing it, is not serving my goals very well. I mostly write as an outlet for my ideas and projects, a way to get convey those things to the world, to give them external existence, and expose them to judgement. In other words, writing is valuable because it complements my other work. Yet somewhere along the way things got mixed up and I ended up writing at the expense of everything else.
I don't think it's impossible for these two things to coexist, and even to reinforce each other – quite the opposite. And I'm not abandoning the idea of writing every day (though there is still substantial work to do before I can achieve that consistently). The thing I'm abandoning is the burden of trying to make something true that isn't: that I write a post every day.
And in a sense, that's probably the biggest relief of this decision. I believe in truthfulness, and there is some fundamental way in which my attitude towards writing had become untruthful, in the sense that my redefinition of "every day" to include writing after the fact actually removed the qualities that made the original meaningful.
The goal of writing every day was intended to produce habit and consistency, but how is that true if the actual production is infrequent and inconsistent? I wanted to save myself from "sorry it's been 6 months since my last post, here's a post about how I'm going to post more, which will be my last post for the next 6 months" syndrome. However, what were the failure posts if not a formalisation of that same syndrome?
So, no more. What you are reading now is the failure post to end all failure posts. The unbroken line is broken! Long live the unbroken line!
I'm adding a new field to my stats page to track my longest writing streak. It starts at 1 as of tomorrow. I hope someday to reach 365 again, but this time with no failures. In the mean time, my goal is to put my writing back in its proper place in my priorities, and to accept that I will write exactly as much as I can, and no more than that.