Don't break the chain

Have you heard of Jerry Seinfeld’s life hack for writing? The idea is that you get out a paper calendar and a big red marker, and you put an X through each day that you write (or exercise, or refrain from drinking, or clean the cat boxes, or meditate – whatever floats your boat). The idea is simple: don’t break the chain. Regular, incremental effort will lead to real outcomes.

I have written every workday since February 8. By written, I mean not simply personal journalling (that habit is firmly established), and not work for clients, but my own stuff. And, for each day of writing, I have given myself a heart on my lovely paper calendar from the Canadian Cancer Society. I even wrote on one weekend day. I’ve written a complete draft of an essay that I’m quite enamoured of, and I’ve started a second essay. I’m aiming for a minimum of 25 minutes of writing a day, minutes during which the Internet is turned off and the phone is away. Ideally, I put in my time well before noon, before it starts to feel like something I’m avoiding.

So far, so good. My writing practice ebbs and flows. I have looked for hacks and applied them for decades. Sometimes they work, for a while, or not. Right now I’m just focusing on that chain of hearts.