A Weekly Lottery Ticket

Eight weeks ago, a couple of friends and I set out to do a weekly blogging challenge where we all had to publish a post every Monday by 5:00pm. When I first committed to it, I imagined that it’d be as simple as taking a spare moment here and there during the week to write up some cool technical thing I learned recently, no big deal. Instead, what happened was each Monday at around 11:00am, I would stare aghast at my computer screen, my head as blank as the freshly opened document in front of me. “I’ve learned nothing!” I would think to myself in horror. “I am a stagnant shell of a person who unwittingly has let time pass by wasted without growing in any meaningful way!”

And yet, despite all that muddle and fear, every Monday around 3:00pm, I found myself hitting the ‘publish’ button on a completed blog post. And now, suddenly it’s the final week of the challenge and that weekly last-minute rush has turned into an unbroken streak of blog posts.

Part of me feels like it was luck, like each week I bought a lottery ticket that I only just happened to win. But wins can’t statistically happen every week so each week I won meant I was probably decreasing my chances for winning next week and ahhhhh the world is full of scarcity!!!

I think the reality is that there was no scarcity of thoughts gestating inside me. Instead, it was by showing up each week to provide a few hours of dedicated space to muddle through them that I was finally able to string them together into something coherent and tangible. Before where all I had were peripheral epiphanies, when I sat down to write and give them space, I was suddenly finding ways they all connected to each other into a constellation of a idea.

Sometimes, I don’t have a good sense of who I am or how to share that with another person. I get into situations where I feel like I’m in such a reactive state of gerrymandering myself for each different crowd that it’s hard for me to catch a glimpse of myself outside of that performance. But writing is such a necessarily slow process that suddenly, I had the space to figure things out. Where it’s hard for me to be to draw up a narrative of myself, share my convictions, argue my ideas on the spot in a conversation, suddenly in the space of writing a blog post, it was only me and my thoughts, going at exactly the pace I wanted.

So each week, regardless of the how well the writing went, seeing the resulting essay felt a little like discovering hidden parts of myself. It’s been a little magical, honestly, seeing ideas that I didn’t even realize I was incubating suddenly reflected back at me in black and white. Even on the weeks where it felt like I was only writing dull and contrived platitudes, just the act of publishing something mediocre felt revolutionary. To be so unpolished in public, it felt like I was saying, “Here I am with all these blemished words, and it’s okay if they don’t resonate with you.”