We haven’t seen each other in months, even though for the past six month’s my friend M. has lived here. Time passes like that. A blur. And then she texts, “let’s make sure to meet up before we leave. We’re leaving on Friday.” And so I put aside other pressing work, and walk out into the warm air to find her.
Soon we’re sitting on a bench on Church Street sipping cold drinks. Condensation forms on our glasses, our fingertips wet as we gesture and laugh. The air is humid, heavy, bright with sun. The thermometer climbs past 90.
She tells me she’s planning on traveling for a while: camping wherever she and her husband land for the night across the West, and so I say, “blog about it! Keep a record.”
I can see the way she flinches just a little, and also smiles–like I’ve dared her to do something, even though mostly I said it because I want to go along, vicariously, across the West, campsite to campsite. But I get her reaction. It’s so hard to start after you haven’t for a while. Hard to get past the inner critic that says, “It should be better, more clever, more crafted, more intriguing.” Hard to just show up and write, keeping a record as the moments unfold. But that, truly, is the wonder of what a blog can be at its best. Unvarnished, real-time evidence of a life as it’s being lived.
So many of of my clients have the same challenge in one way or another: they imagine the bigness of starting, instead of the smallness of it and so taking the first step becomes tremendous, daunting, bigger than life. They imagine the end result: a thriving blog, a booming business, product flying out the door, and the path from here to there is inconceivable. But the truth is, nothing begins with grandness. Instead, it begins with small act of showing up. With something small. With a single step. And so I say, “Just write one paragraph a day.”
She grins like sunshine, because that’s how she is. She gets out her phone and writes herself a note. Just one paragraph.
Starting is the hardest part. Even with the small micro-goal of a single paragraph. But the challenge is all in your head. The minute you start, things happen. Your fingers moving there on the keyboard will lead the way. Your mind will slip into a groove, or find a pattern or answer or riff.
But to begin, just a paragraph. Just that.
Driving home in the evening I think of our conversation again, and feel the weight of the dare: Just one paragraph blogged every day.
I know I haven’t been showing up here regularly either to record the moments, my process, the glimpses into my life as it happens, and it’s something that I want very much to do this summer. Yet like everyone, I have excuses. Many of them very apropos: I’m writing elsewhere online; I’m working on a fiction piece; I’m drafting the outline of a book; the heatwave makes it hard to concentrate for very long; the kids are under foot; my work days are filled to saturation. Non really hold water.
So I’m putting myself up to the challenge (and you too!) to blog a paragraph every day for 30 days. For me, it will be the last 30 days in this house. Next month on the 20th we move. Then school will start soon after, and new routines will emerge. But until then, 30 days. 30 posts. 1 paragraph.
Are you in?
I’ve had a few people ask for badges for this little project, and so here you are. I’m thrilled that so many of you want to join me! It will be worth it. Promise. (Also I can’t wait to see what you share every day!)