Friday, January 6, 2012

Motivations


I don't want to write this. You probably don't want to read it. There are other things to do. I have a good book I want to get back to. I want to go home and lie down for a nap. I could go for a run. Anything but write my 750 words today. I'm just not in the mood for it.

And yet...

I'm writing 750 words in part because i don't want to throw away the work I have done heretofore. I have built up a streak of just short of 90 days and I want to continue it. I could choose not to write but I know that tomorrow I would be disappointed, feel defeated, and it would be harder to get back into it. The streak, for the moment, holds me to the task.

Sometimes that's what I need. An outside/inside motivation. No one is going to punish me if I don't write these words. In fact, I'm not sure anyone would notice. That's not me looking for compliments (gee, Brian, we sure would miss it if you didn't write every single day!), it's just that I publish at different times throughout the day and anyone looking for the posts wouldn't be surprised not to find one. I'm not getting paid for this so it's not like I would lose money if I didn't publish. All I have is the streak, but today that is enough.

I've run at least 5K every day so far this year. That would sound a hell of a lot more impressive if today weren't January 6th. Still, the streak of running just four days in a row got me out the door yesterday for 3.1 miles. It will likely get me out the door again today. I will have to take a real rest day at some point, probably, but right now I don't want to take one. I've set myself to running every day this week. I have an idea to run every day this month. And, yeah, I'll admit that I have a dream of running all 366 days of this year. It's good to have a dream.

When I last wrote about streaks I talked about how the streak can become more important than the act itself. That writing 750 words every day becomes more important than having something to say. That running every day becomes more important than enjoying the runs. But yesterday's run, which I did mostly out of service to the streak, felt great. Every step of it. I'm not kidding. That includes the monster incline of Euclid just two blocks in (before I was warmed up) and the last steps before I stopped my watch at Starbucks to have coffee with Stephanie. And this writing, which I was dreading and did only because repairing this streak would take me into early April, has been good for me. It has gotten me to think of the other side of streaking (don't worry, I still have my clothes on; I mean the other kind of streaking) which is that it is good discipline. It's a better carrot and stick than a carrot or a stick can be.

I've developed an internal habit of writing each day. I knew that if I hadn't written now, I would have written later tonight. My fear is that I would have stumbled onto something much more interesting then, but such is life. Running is not nearly as internal. I like to run, but I love to write. I can't imagine letting a day go by without putting words on paper or screen. No, really, I can't imagine it. I don't think I have had a day like that in ten years. I wrote on the days my children were born, albeit briefly. I wrote on my wedding day. I have wrote on the day after my neck surgery.

This streak of writing 750 and publishing is much newer for me. It's easy because I write so damn much anyway. 300,000+ words so far on this site, three composition notebooks full since September, probably a couple 100,000 words elsewhere. Running is newer for me and running on a streak is also newer. I'm still worried that the streak will take over from the joy. I'm going to have to be on guard about that. And I know just how to be on guard: I'll keep running every day, keep assessing myself with each step, and, you guessed it, I'll write on all about it.