Experiencing The Slump

Entry nr. 7

Have you ever suffered a slump? I’d describe it a bit like you start doing something and then, after a while, you stop entirely. I’ve read that it’s something that happens to marathon runners. I’ve never run a marathon, but I can relate because I’ve been experiencing a writing slump. I know, it’s not the same thing, but they have similarities. Perhaps there was a bit of writer’s block in the mix too. In either case, this slump started roughly a month ago.

I had just taken up a hugely ambitious writing project. I had made a public commitment to publish once a day for 365 days on Medium. I could keep up that pace for six days. Then the slump hit and here I am, four weeks later, writing up my next entry. And what better topic to cover than reflecting on the slump.

The Cause behind the slump

I’m not convinced that this slowdown has any one single cause. I think it’s more of a combination of many different variables that merely piled up. There are enough hours in a day to write and publish a text. Like, I’m writing this piece right at this very moment. The writing flows out like it came out on its own accord. It doesn’t feel hard.

But I’m not living in an empty void where we have no other duties. Yet I split my attention. I couldn’t keep writing as my highest priority. Other things took my attention. If I had prioritized my time differently, I would have gotten different results. Perhaps I’d have published more, but other things would have been left undone, which I’d have needed to do anyway.

Pushing long days while prioritizing differently left me only a few hours for potential writing. With a 24h publishing schedule, there wasn’t enough time for writing while still fulfilling other needs. Working long hours late into the evening with too few hours for sleep didn’t exactly help out. It feels much easier to write when you feel well-rested.

But why was it so hard to get back to writing?

It’s not easy to explain why it took me four weeks to get back to writing. A few weeks back I’d have replied that I “didn’t have time”. I know that it’s not true, I just had other priorities that ate up the time that I could have spent on writing. It’d take me four weeks to get to the point where there were sufficiently few “high priority” tasks that there was time for me to get to writing.

I could also point to the right state of mind. I’m approaching writing differently now. Earlier I approached writing from a very systematic state of mind. Right now this writing comes from a more emotional state. I’m writing about current things that I’m doing right now instead of something that may have a point but feel “far off”. This feels more genuine and less forced.

Moving forward from here

So now that I’m here, I ought to reflect once again on if I should re-commit to my initial schedule. Can I really do this? I’m confident that I can publish 365 texts. Can I do it once a day? Not equally likely, but possible. It is probably possible to achieve such an ambitious goal. But do I have the discipline to do it? At this very moment, reality speaks against it. There was a 4-week slump after all. Right now I’d say that the once a day is more of an ideal that I can strive towards. I’m more likely to create a writing habit and reach 365 publications than achieve a once a day publishing schedule.

I’ll keep on writing.

Did this text have any bigger point?

Not really. My desire was to write a self-evaluation for the sake of accountability on how things have turned out thus far in order to clear my head. We’ll see how things go from here.