All Signs Point to Reading and Writing

Here’s the deal: Lately I’ve been procrastinating my writing and rarely take the time to read. As a result my creative drive has diminished, and I don’t think I’m able to articulate my thoughts quite as clearly as I want to.

Every day before I began actively posting on my blog I was writing every morning. I was consistent with my writing for the entire summer because I was trying to build up an archive before school hit when I knew my schedule would get a lot busier. Fall rolled in and my writing lessened and lessened. With the intentions of writing everyday over my winter break I now sit here thinking “Damn, I should have been writing.”

Classes have picked back up except this time around I have a very casual schedule considering I only have classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. With that being said I’ve opened up a lot more room in my days, but I’ve yet to get back into a consistent rhythm of writing. Looking back at when I was writing everyday it’s extremely easy to notice that my rhythm of writing directly correlates to my rhythm of creating.

When you’re constantly making excuses for yourself it’s best to be publicly honest about your issues, even if no one is listening.

This is exactly that. I’ve been lazy. I consistently find myself scrolling through my twitter newsfeed at 5am rather doing my writing just to keep myself purposely distracted. Sometimes when I walk downstairs of my house to leave I realize I forgot to bring a book with me, but justify not going to get it because I’m already downstairs. Whenever I’m traveling I always overrule reading a book with listening to music instead.

I’m not trying to beat myself up, but instead writing out all of these things that I do makes me physically recognize how silly and unproductive my choices are. If you’re wanting to break a bad habit then take the time to write about it. The first step to changing anything is first recognizing what needs to be changed and then addressing it. For me, I want to write and read more. Scratch that actually. I want to write and read everyday, and so the simple solution is to read and write everyday.

I’m not necessarily in a creative rut at the moment, but I feel both creatively and intellectually unsatisfied. Not to mention it seems as though there are signs everywhere telling me the benefits of reading and writing. I want to get better at writing, I want to get better at talking, and heck I want to be smarter. There’s a lot more that accompanies reading and writing though, the two engage me much differently than designing or browsing newsfeeds—in such a way that gives me a feeling of accomplishment while sharpening my curiosity. When I write I’m happier because I’m healthily challenged, and the relief of no longer holding the weight of my thoughts is so rewarding. When I read I want to read more. When I’m not reading I don’t want to read. If I want to do more reading then it needs to become a priority; not an activity. Reading more means writing more, and it also means writing better.

When the two come together, creating and living become intentional.

Just before the new year kicked down the door Austin Kleon shared his advice on How To Read More. After I threw my phone in the ocean (tip #1) I realized that I forgot to read the rest of his tips. Looking back at his list numbers 2 and 3 really stand out to me:

  1. Throw your phone in the ocean. (Or, keep it in airplane mode.)
  2. Carry a book with you at all times.
  3. Have another book ready before you finish the one you’re reading. (Make a stack of books to-read or load up your eReader.)

You can read his other four tip on his blog. Another interesting read that helped push me over the edge to want to write and read everyday is James Clear’s article How to Stop Procrastinating on Your Goals by Using the “Seinfeld Strategy.” James writes about the power of consistency and building healthy habits by tangibly recording the days you do what you set out to do. As I document if I read and write everyday they’ll become less like tasks and more of my necessities.

The benefits of reading and writing pour into all aspects of my life, making me more social, making me happier, making me more creative, and making me more excited to do more. Everything is pointing me in the same direction, now it’s just a matter of showing up. If there is something you want then figure out what’s stopping you—even if it’s yourself—and then go chase after it.