What happens if you break the chain?

The zero people who are regular followers of my pseudonymous blog [note: I’ve since moved all those old posts to this named site] know that I’m working on building the habit of writing. I’m focusing on the habit rather than the output or the outcomes because I believe that I can’t force outcomes, but if I can succeed at habit-ifying writing then I will eventually get those outcomes.

Today I’m on a boat, heading out for a 4 day festival off the grid. I likely won’t be able to “hit publish every day”.

What happens if you break the Seinfeldian chain? What are the consequences?

One thing: guilt. It may be small, but it’ll be there. You may distract yourself and avoid spending much time engaging with that feeling, but all the worse. To avoid thinking about it is to develop an aversion. And to develop an aversion is to risk everything. The mind does crazy stuff when under the influence of aversions. You feel slightly averse to thinking about it one day, and the next day the aversion is slightly stronger, so even though you told yourself you would get back on the habit tomorrow, when that day comes you find that you still aren’t writing. Now you’ve got a serious aversion in the works, powered by guilt and the incipient suspicion that you can’t really do this. You start justifying not writing, you start undermining the value of writing, and as the days go by, you get more and more distant from the person who had all that momentum and drive. Now you’re out of the habit again.

Whereas, if you do write, even if it’s super short and super shitty, you don’t have to feel that guilt. You don’t start developing an aversion. You keep the habit alive to be strengthened more another day.

So as I’m on this trip, I’ll stay committed to writing every day. I’ll publish if I have signal, and I’ll leave it in my journal but publish it when I get back if not.


Leave a Reply