To create, create space
how 30 minutes of writing about modesty made me see a new game to play
Habits are easier to keep if they snap into specific slots. Daily habits are easier to remember than weekly habits. Weekly habits are probably easier to maintain than monthly ones.
I suspect this has something to do with identity issues. Something you do every day is something you are. You don't need to stop and think what day it is. It's just something you do/are. If you step out of the daily cadence, this connection is stretched and willpower will need to bridge that distance. Willpower is a hard thing to do.
Anyway, I digress.
One habit I'm trying to jumpstart is writing daily for 30 minutes. Half an hour is nothing and yet, it weights so much. I never do it.
Until today. I did it today.
But for the past 2 weeks, I've had a recurring reminder on my Notion to spend 30 minutes writing. And every one of those days, I've found it impossible to sit down and spend 30 minutes writing.
Bear in mind, I had plenty of half-hour chunks lost to social media, taking walks or busy work around the house (fixing a faucet). But 30 minutes of writing? Ouch. Nope.
Today, around 19h20 I sat down to write. I looked at my daily habits list and the 30 minute writing thing stuck out. It glared at me. I had some alone time and set out to do it.
So I did. I did not write it to post here on substack, so you won't see it.
But it was productive and insightful. Really worthy of my 30 minutes.
At the start, the blank page was teasing me, but I got started and eventually arrived at something I had not seen before. .The beginning was mostly around the topic of modesty.
However during the writing session, the theme evolved. From modesty to creating spaces. Spaces where you abandon typical rules and try to do something different (In my case, a photographic studio session, more on that later, maybe).
You see, writing for 30 minutes without a set objective was a space I created for serendipity to emerge (I kinda knew this at the time, but not really).
In those 30 minutes I could write about whatever I wanted. Modesty was just the topic of the day. And while talking about modesty, I came to realize that to experiment with different levels of it, you need to create spaces where to play. Spaces where you pretend you are not bound by how you see yourself. In these spaces, you create versions of you. You can prototype (to a point, I imagine) how you do things.
Of course. Of course a photo studio session would be particularly powerful in this way. The invitation to be, to sit, to move and to look in slightly distinct ways is obvious. You HAVE to experiment with you material body and that will play tricks on your mind. The space of the photographic studio is clearly solely focused on bending reality (lights, reflectors, infinite backdrops, props, etc) to freeze a slice of make-believe into permanence. It is obvious now. Not before, not for me.
But in the same way, 30 minutes of writing is me creating a space where I can play with who I am, not from a physical perspective, but from an intellectual one. Mind games, mind gym, mind improv? I don't know.
But I sure hope tomorrow I keep up the streak