Going Through the Motions

Sometimes that’s the best you can do in order to keep your writing practice from fading to black

It turns out that writing three posts a week at Medium is tougher than writing five.

The reason seems to be that the more choice a practice offers, the more chances there are for procrastination and a slipping away from the practice itself.

When I was writing five times a week, I only got two passes. I usually took them on Friday, when I create and upload my weekly podcast, and Sunday. On every other day of the week, I uploaded at least 500 words here about something that scratched my itch to write.

Last week, on a day when I couldn’t come up with a topic, I decided to ease up. I am not getting paid for this, and my wife was getting tired of the “I’ve got to write my Medium post” whine. We are retired. We like to watch “The Gilmore Girls” at night. Lighten up already!

That made sense, so I wrote three times last week — on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday.

This week I’ve written twice, Tuesday and yesterday. Tonight I came within a semi-colon of bagging the whole thing.

I got nothing. It’s been fun, and I’ve written more than 60,000 words since October when I started. Maybe it’s time to declare the Great Medium Experiment a success and move on.

Well, not yet. I’d like to lay down at least a few more thrice-writing weeks before I wander off to my next project. There is something I haven’t learned here yet. Whatever it is bugs me. It nudges me toward one more climb up the hill.

I still don’t really get Medium. That’s part of what keeps me going.

I love the elegance of the writing interface, and it’s fun to check the stats and see how many views a post gets. I seem to be attracting about 50 more followers a month, which isn’t nothing — and a hearty thanks to those of you who have followed along regularly.

What I don’t get about Medium is how I am supposed to interact with the other writers here. I do read posts that show up in my daily summary, and I was glad to sign up for a paying membership.

I respect Ev Williams for his visionary work on Blogger and Twitter. I shook his hand once at a boozy South by Southwest party that was so loud neither of us could hear each the other speak. I probably said “thank you” and moved on.

I’m not moving on from Medium yet. I love to write, and this is the coolest public writing space I’ve ever found.

I’m working hard with my father these days on his oral memoir that I helped him to record. We had it transcribed in order to create a private book for family members. Each day we edit it together online from Denver and Boston via Google Docs and Skype.

He’s 90. The memoir is just under 60,000 words, and it’s going to be a treasure for generations of our family.

Words matter, you see.

If you practice using them enough, even when you don’t feel like it, you might get lucky and find out what you were trying to say all along.