I finished a novel last evening, finally escaping its grasp, finally able to return to tasks I've been avoiding because reading has been pulling at me with the promise of being more effortless and entertaining than anything else I could be doing. It's disturbing to watch myself sleep less and eat poorly due to a lack of willpower to pull myself away from a story.
But in this space, my willpower has been strong. I set a goal to write for a full month, and this is day 24. I've spent weeks diving into my perfectionism and challenging myself to write pages in this notebook about unsatisfying topics or in minimal amounts of time. Each day, a resistance to writing something habitually sinks deep into my body and I hold it with curiosity and care, working through it to write yet again.
This intensity of willpower has been draining in similar ways to my recent lack of willpower with reading. I'm tired. I'm tired because I'm spending my time in ways that don't feel nourishing - sometimes because I'm sucked into a made-up world, and sometimes because I'm sucked into a promise I'm forcing myself to keep.
If willpower is exhausting and following impulses is exhausting, then what do I want instead? What would feel healthy? Now, this is pretty difficult to figure out when I'm in an unhealthy state, but last night I wandered into a dark field and stood for a while staring at hazy trees through a thick fog until my brain cleared and something felt right.
Challenging perfectionism is valuable. Doing something even when I don't feel like it can be extremely valuable. I've done these things, and I've learned from them. But there is daily effort that seems unavoidable in this project: thinking of a topic, writing, uploading to this notebook. And what feels nourishing right now is to let that responsibility go.
One of my favourite parts of quitting a daily creative project is that the result doesn't feel incomplete. Each page stands alone, and bound together they are something even more. I hope I'll return to write again soon, but in the meantime, thanks for being here.