Patrick Ward words, code, and music

30 Posts in 30 Days

I just returned from Steve Pavlina’s Conscious Growth Workshop (CGW). One of the take-aways from that experience was a suggestion that I write 30 posts in 30 days on my new blog. It’s a daunting task, but one that I feel may be necessary for me to make the leap into a writer’s life.

30 day trials are pretty common these days, but they are also one of the most effective ways to experiment with a new habit, routine, or idea. They provide a limited window of opportunity in which we can fully immerse ourselves into a project without the weight of a permanent change dragging us down.

I’ve used them to spark new mindsets, diets, and rituals for myself.

For example, when I decided that I wanted try a vegan diet, I jumped right in and committed to at least 30 days of no animal products. This wasn’t an easy transition, especially since I had decided to not take the intermediate step and go vegetarian first. Despite the hunger pains, the headaches, and the initial lack of energy I kept going all the way to the end of that experiment. I kept to the diet because I knew at the end of the 30 days I could return to an omnivorous existence if I wanted to. Towards the end of the trial period my mind began to clear, my body started to get stronger, and my emotional outlook began to improve dramatically. I felt more alive than I had in years. Yet, if I had not stuck to the 30 day trial I wouldn’t have experienced those positive changes. Nine months later I am still experiencing positive growth on the vegan diet.

Those 30 days of a dietary experiment literally changed my life.

I’ve used the same process to begin waking up at 4:30am, write in my daily journal, switch from morning coffee to morning green juices, clean the house for at least 30 minutes a day, and meditate for 20 minutes each morning. Other trials have not been as successful, such as my transition to an all raw diet. However, the process has always been illuminating on a physical, educational, and psychological level. Even when I have decided not to continue after the 30 day period, I’ve found the process has profound lessons that I cannot find in any other method.

This next 30 day trial is about my attempts to become a better writer. I’ve been batting around the idea of starting a writing life for years. It’s always been one of those plans that never seems to arrive. So, while I was at the CGW I began to tell people that my goal was to start some writing projects, mainly fiction, and that I wanted to share them on my website. It felt strange to admit to others that I wanted to write, but I decided beforehand that if I was going to take one thing away from that trip it was going to be the courage to admit I have literary aspirations - even if that dream seems light years away.

The more I told people about this desire of mine, the less impossible it began to seem. I was buoyed by the encouraging words of others and by the magnificence of their own dreams. I began to realize that I’m the only reason these plans of mine never arrive, that I had to get out of my own way.

So, I began to experiment by writing my thoughts down each morning in the hotel room. To my surprise, the words began to flow out of me like streams of automatic writing. I started the first day with a mere 500 words. By the end of the fourth morning, I was writing 3500 words each session. The entries are mainly recollections of the previous day - hardly inspiring memoirs. Yet, it wasn’t the writing that excited me, it was the breaking down of that mental barrier I’d built up for years - that I wouldn’t be able to sit down and pour forth my soul into a collage of words.

So, I’m going to try this new 30 day trial in public, post these thoughts to my blog for 30 days and see what happens.

I can’t promise any of it will be inspiring or useful, but I can promise that I’ll try my best. These posts will most likely be lightly edited, full of grammarian faux pas, and possibly downright boring. However, they will always be authentic, they’ll always carry with them the attempts of an earnest student dedicated to the honor and integrity of that 30 day ideal.

It is time to get past writing about the process of writing and begin to emit that creative spark that I dearly hope lies within me. It’s time to put away childish fears and forge ahead with confidence, knowing that my fear is just a construct of my own mind.