As promised, here’s the report-back from my attempt to start a new creative habit, “From the Frontline,” as it were.
The effect of attaching a new task (writing 3 pages of flash fiction) to a weekly task (laundry) was … postponement:
“Well, the hamper is full, but I don’t really need to do laundry today.”
This happened from Monday all the way to Friday, a delay of four days. By then, I was ready.
I chose a new notebook, checked pockets for tissues, and pressed go.
Then I sat down and I wrote 3 pages longhand (in cursive, in case you’re of the same persuasion). I had an idea of someone in an attic, and that developed into a multi-perspective domestic tale of class and deluded grandeur. An interesting new storytelling technique for me.
My initial observation on this attempt is that even though the process of attaching a new habit to a trigger event is supposed to make it easier to get started and develop a routine, I chose something that could be put off rather easily, and so it probably wouldn’t be the best choice for others.
However, since I’m only using laundry for this new, experimental task, I think it’s okay that I do it only once a week, and can flexibly start or postpone it until a time when I I felt ‘fruitful.’ I’m also doing other kinds of writing (blog post, journaling, letters) that are blocked into the schedule in other ways, so this isn’t the only way I’m getting myself to the writing ‘Hot Seat.’
Thus, my resolution going forward shall be that there doesn’t have to be a flash fiction product for every load washed, just that I probe those depths–‘Anything there at the moment?’- every time there is, in order to give the creative muscle a chance to say,
“Yes, God, yes! Lemme out of here so I can stretch!”
A sort of walk-the-dog type of exercise, to make sure those creative skills are being search-lighted regularly. So there we are: my effect, observation, and resolution.
Have you tried to start anything? Are you gearing up to start something in the New Year???
Let us know in the comments so we can come around and poke you about it!
P.S. I made my second attempt this morning, and managed the full complement: flash fiction for the wash, and blog post for the dryer. What you see before you is the result of the latter. Huzzah!
P.P.S. Oh, and in case you missed it (ICYMI), I published my second novel last week just before Christmas. Go here for the link to check it out on Amazon!