Nearly 8 years ago now I started the ‘war room’, a chat room for writers to log into and keep each other company while we write. It’s a combination of support group, inertia-breaker, guilt-inducer, and social space. People log in from all over North America and Europe (I don’t think we have any other continents checking in), and it works really well. (Michelle Sagara dedicated the latest Elantra book to us. ♥ :))
I wish I could figure out a way to make something similiar for more off-line activities work. Going to the gym, for example (or at least, exercising). The best way to get me to the gym is to have somebody I don’t live with expecting me to show up there. It doesn’t matter if they’re actually my workout partner; they just have to expect to see me there. Etc.
But it’s different to have somebody expect you to show up in physical space. When there are thousands of miles separating you it’s harder. Past experiments with “I’ll email you when I’ve worked out, and then you’ll have to, too!” haven’t been…I mean, they work for a few days, but then somebody misses either a workout or an email and the whole thing peters out, and it’s months or even years before it gets picked back up again. I don’t know how that can be dealt with.
I mean, at the moment I’ve got a bit of positive feedback loop going with my friend Ellen, who was inspired by my spring cleaning post the other day and then did one of her own that inspired me and back and forth a bit, but I’m afraid we’re running out of speed on that one. (Although I got the table cleared off, Ellen!) So I dunno.
Anyway, they (“They”) say to become a (relative) expert in something, all you need is to do it consistently for 20 minutes a day. Arnold Schwarzenegger has a 15 minute body weight workout that he says is all you need to get fit. (I’ve done it. He’s right. It’s a great, by which I mean ass-kicking, workout. Unless you’re already pretty fit, don’t try all four reps in your first workout unless you don’t want to be able to walk for a week.) Even overlooking DuoLingo, there are a ton of 20-minutes-a-day language study programmes.
I’d like to get myself doing those things. Arnie’s workout, studying Spanish for 20 minutes a day, drawing for 20 minutes a day. Assuming some lead-in and wind-up time for those, they’re half an hour each. A total of 90 minutes a day. God knows I could afford to lose out on 90 minutes of looking at Facebook or Twitter every day.
(Obviously there are forty other things I’d like to do too, but I kind of think managing 3 is a big ask all by itself, even if it’s HARDLY ANY TIME, so, y’know. Baby steps. Or at least, medium-sized steps…)
(And yes, this is like a combination of Spring Sunshine Makes Me Ambitious and New Hair Means I Could Be A New Person, Right, so, y’know. Stupid brain, or something.)