30 Minutes A Day

Last May, I was on a radio show talking about religion and sports. At one point, the host asked me when my book would be finished.

"The end of summer," I assured him.

This wasn't an act of academic wish fulfillment. I actually believed this was possible.

All I had to do was stay on task.

[he clears his throat]

All I had to do was stay on task.

The summer started well. Chapters were improving. My argument was developing. My story was becoming coherent.

But then... stuff happened.

Everything stopped.

And the longer I stopped writing, the harder it was to open those documents. The ideas that were once so clear in my head were fading.

The anxiety accumulated. Will I ever really finish it? Or will it finish me?

When classes resumed, I found comfort in the rhythm of old routines, especially those associated with the classroom. But there was that other "old routine" hovering above me, the one that involved avoiding writing.

I had to do something... How about a 30 day challenge?

Don't worry, dear reader. This isn't a "I Tried X for 30 Days And Here's What Happened" post. Or maybe it is.

I picked 30 minutes because I knew that it was reasonable. No matter what was happening, I knew that I could carve out a single half hour.

Some days went well. The thirty minutes passed by in a blink. Many days I wrote for longer than my self-imposed requirement, finishing with a nicely composed paragraph. But then there were the days when 30 minutes slogged along and an entire section was worse off for my intervention.

But at the end of a month, I came away with a draft of a chapter. I also came away knowing that I can find time every day to write.

So I hope that this becomes my new normal.

But irrespective of the future, this month has renewed my appreciation for writing. Rather than being a burden, it has become my refuge--my place to bring calm to the chaos of my daily life, and to focus on things that really matter to me.

In final analysis, I can count this as an accomplishment no matter if or when the actual (damn) book gets finished.