Okay, I know I putzed out here at the end, but you know, I'm really impressed that I was able to write as many posts as I did this month. There are so many days that I have no idea when I'll find time to do lots of essential things, like eat or sleep. (Shower? Not essential. Not every day, anyway.) Finding time to write is like finding time to exercise, a miracle type thing.
What I discovered this month is something I already knew was true, but hadn't put into practice in a while. The more you write, the easier it is. You get into the rhythm, so your words flow easier. You remember how to compose in your head, and the lines get stuck there until you can get them on the page. Also, when you are blogging, and you stop for a little while, there's always this hurdle to get over when you start back up -- how much of what I haven't written about do I need to catch up on? And there's pressure for it to be good. Why write that piece of minutiae when you haven't written in weeks? There's always that thoughtful post waiting to be written that you don't have the time or energy or brainpower to compose, so you just don't write anything at all. But when you expect yourself to write every day, you know it's okay for there to be some junk.
I'll admit, I was a little panicked every single day. I couldn't get ahead of myself enough to write some posts and schedule them to publish ahead of time. So every morning there was a time that I wondered, 'What if I can't find anything to be grateful for today?' How terrible would that be? What if today was the really crappy, I'm feeling really negative, there's nothing new to say under the sun day?
But then, every day, by the time evening rolled around, there was some moment that stood out as "Yes. That is why I'm glad I'm living this particular life." And that's what I wrote about.
There were some topics I knew I'd want to write about going into this project, of course. But truly, each day brought different angles of the best parts of my life to my attention. And I was able to think about them, and write about them, in ways that surprised me as the posts unfolded.
Having this structure to frame my days really did help me be more positive about my life. I had fewer rough days this month. Fewer days when I felt exhausted and exasperated and just plain overwhelmed. Whether that is directly related to choosing to find ways to be grateful, I'm not sure, but I think it played a role. When I was actively looking for the things in my life that are valuable and precious, and making sure that I put into words just why they are valuable, I felt better about just about everything.
There were times when I started to get self conscious about the project. Times when I started to wonder if what I was writing bordered on bragging. Hey. Look at me and this great life I have. I had to just get past those thoughts. Because hey. It is a great life. And I know how very blessed I am to have it.
I think also, my writing benefitted this month from having to adopt a more straightforward, sunny tone.
It's not that I don't write positively about my life. I do. In fact, I think I tend to err more on the side of positivity in general on this blog, as a way of protecting my kids who may someday read this blog. While I want them to understand some of challenges I faced raising them, I don't want them to feel as if I worked out my most serious concerns and anxieties about them for an audience.
I don't always share the biggest difficulties, but I do tend to write about the everyday challenges with what I recognize is often self deprecation and deflecting humor. Adopting a more earnest style this month forced me to be a little bit more thoughtful, and to write with a little less snarkiness as I sometimes feel.
Oh, in case you were wondering about days 26 through 29, it wasn't that I didn't find anything to be grateful for on those days. I just was simply too tired to make myself sit down and compose those posts. That's one benefit of this exercise. Even when I wasn't actually writing, I was writing.
I'm glad to have found ways to be grateful this month. I may take a little break from this particular format, but I'd like to see Gratitude Days become a regular feature here at Small World. I just hope it is on a regular enough basis that I'll still be able to pay attention to the small things I'm grateful for as well as the big ones.