A little bit over a year ago I was in the darkest place I’ve ever been.
For various reasons I had come, from having a wide and solid network of friends and loved ones, to have the least I’ve ever had since I was a child. And we were in the middle of the most critical part of the pandemic where I live which meant that, in essence, I was totally and absolutely alone 24/7. At that point I had been living in an apartment alone for two years, yes, but I always managed to have a friend over. Or I visited my friends. Or my parents. But, being in the middle of the global pandemic, I hadn’t visited my parents in months.
I was deeper into that dark place (that I know so well) than ever before.
Nothing could console me. I tried some things, but they weren’t just doing it. I wanted to scream, to reach out, but I was afraid. Afraid of being rejected, of being accused of things that I didn’t do, and so much more. I’ve always had trust issues but, back then, I was paralyzed, unable to trust anybody that wasn’t part of my family or my closest circle.
I had begun reading books in earnest, trying to find comfort there. I was semi successful, but the weight of going to bed every night thinking that I’d never connect with another human being was getting heavier and heavier. Plus, these months are the winter months where I live, so the cold and dark outside didn’t help either.
I started writing a journal, trying to get out what was inside. It was useful to a degree, I think, but I still felt like my life wasn’t worth living anymore. Because to top it all off, I hadn’t written any fiction—classic or TTRPG-wise—in months. I couldn’t remember the last time I had written something like that, not to even talk about this blog or anything else that was somehow public.
And then, I tried something old. I tried to write everyday, no matter what. Fiction, I said, regardless of how it comes out. Every day, a little bit. 750 words at least. I even put it in my cellphone notes: Main Quest: Write AT LEAST 750 words.
And that stupid note (and stupider) goal somehow helped me. I don’t know how or why, but they did. They supported me for the rest of the winter and up until the upcoming spring. By the time the apartment I lived in stopped being a freezer, I was well on my way to have been writing for weeks.
And that was just the beginning.
No, I didn’t write more than 750 words everyday for the past year. Some days I wrote a couple dozen, while others I wrote a couple thousand. I’ve completed—in draft forms—many projects since then and, although I haven’t done the proper math, I’m kinda sure that I’ve written in the past year more than in any other year since I started writing seriously, more than 11 years ago.
I’m writing this as a way of commemorating this, of celebrating in the most nerd way possible my small accomplishment. I think I’m also writing this for the writers out there, the ones who are stuck doing revisions or writing their own drafts of whatever. I have an idea of what you are going through, and the only thing I can tell you is: keep going. I believe in you. You got this.
I know that some days the voices in our head are very loud, and they usually make us question what we do, how we do it, and why we do it… And so much more. It’s exhausting and it never ends—I know!—no matter how many times we prove them wrong. But, you know what? Fuck them. They are only voices in our heads and we are the ones writing and creating and imagining stuff against all odds. You and I, I don’t know how, but we do the thing apart from everything else. We deal with our lives and with the writing. And that may not be much in the grand scheme of things—I’m pretty sure it isn’t—but it’s something for us, isn’t it? I know it is for me.
The Lessons (?)
If there’s anything I’ve learned throughout these 365 days is that the only way to get to the goal—i.e., to write something every day—is to not be precious about your writing. Not a single part of it. You can’t be precious about the word count. Routine? Nope. Medium through which you do the writing? Ah! Yeah, well, no.
The other thing that I learned is that anything can stand in your way: sickness, death, your mood, the news. Anything. Whatever you can imagine. But, the thing is, I also found a trick: if everything can bother you, then you can train yourself so that nothing does. This is also part of the “not being precious” part. I’m happy to report that I’ve written my daily words while commuting, on the bathroom, and even sometimes by stealing some productive time from work. What matter is that you write every day, no exceptions.
(This Is Not) The End
So, that’s me. I just did something that I had never done before, something that I didn’t even think was possible. I had dreamt of having and keeping such a streak—and I tried (and failed) a couple of times in the past—but this is the first time I’ve been able to go through and do it.
And I’ll keep on going, as much as I can.
If you are trying to do anything for the first time, whatever it is, I encourage you to do so. Please! Go and do it. One day at a time.
And then come back tell me all about it in the comments below.
As a celebration, I will dedicate the next month to writing an entry a day for #RPGaDay2021, hopefully with texts close to 750 words. This should serve as an example of what you can accomplish by writing often.
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