Thursday, June 26, 2008

201st post

I just noticed that last night's post was my 200th. That seems like a pretty big number to me. It reminds me of how things start to add up over the course of regular practice. I have never, I think, spent more than an hour working up a post. But at the end of the day I have a lot of writing to show for it. Yeah, some of it is lame. And yeah, it is generally not structured well. And yeah, it's a whole different thing writing blog posts than writing a dissertation. But still, as you work on it, the product and the project adds up.

I actually have been working on a book about writing projects--Dave's Directions for Inditing a Delightful Dissertation is the working title--...well, not really, or at least it had not been prior to this moment when I made that up. It actually has a slight absurdity that I enjoy. "A Delightful Dissertation." Perhaps a little over the top. It sounds like the name of some turn-of-the-20th century patent medicine or traveling show. And this regular blogging has mostly been helpful. Some days the blog seems to interfere, and others the book project interferes with the blog. But more the former than the latter because it's so much easier to work on the project for which you have low expectations. This is why it's a lot easier to send e-mail to a friend than it is to write your dissertation.

Anyway, however limited the product may be--however limited in volume or in quantity--there is a growing body of work. And with it a growing ease in writing. And these are both things that I can look at and celebrate, just to appreciate my own effort. I have a habit of discounting those things that I do accomplish and focusing on my weaknesses. This is a psychological pattern that makes it easy to despair and stop working. But it's a pattern of focus--it's not destiny. By focusing on the positive of what I have accomplished, I can step into my next effort with greater enthusiasm and less fear. And my assessment of what I can accomplish is based on the actual output that I have--so I have some evidence on which to reflect.

I suppose that if I write enough posts it will be less interesting to mark the landmarks, but that's still a way in the future. Post number 300 will still feel like a landmark.

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