Soundtrack: Sonic the Hedgehog
Technically, one of the things that this wee newsletter is supposed to be about is language learning. The only trouble with that is the last couple of weeks have been very light on the language learning. After what was a good few weeks of really going for it, suddenly I missed a day and then another day.
What was killing my motivation?
And basically, the reason is that there is a point at which even normal momentum isn’t enough to keep a machine ticking along. My perfect kryptonite for trying to learn how to do something is to introduce a meaningless competitive element to it that craves endless expansion and accumulation.
I really like Duolingo because it’s free and because it, along with Google Translate, literally meant that our family was able to survive a year in Poland. But the league tables? How am I supposed to compete with people who are clearly writing scripts to complete the work for them?
Now that I’ve figured out how to turn off the leagues, I’m hoping that simply making my own progress at my own pace will be a bit less demoralising.
minimum viable momentum
The bulk of this lesson actually came in the form of seeing that I am actually capable of fitting a writing practice into a life that includes study and church ministry work. The secret to making it work is choosing to set a small enough goal to help things build. Over the last 10 days, I’ve written over 8000 words in what is definitely my longest writing streak ever. Spending some time writing each morning after I’ve prayed and read the Bible means I can get 750 words done.
That’s three pages. Technically, it’s supposed to be done as soon as you wake up. And it’s supposed to be written out by hand. Now, I love writing with pen on paper more than most but this practice has been about simply getting it done. Some mornings, there just isn’t time so I fit them in later in the day. Like today.
For me, the whole point is trying to build some momentum. Writing in this way helps me have an idea of where my brain has been so that I can share something to this newsletter. It’s a practice that’s worth pursuing simply because writing things out helps make thoughts concrete and that helps with thinking more clearly. Judging by the news over the last few years, we could all use a bit more clarity.
- While writing and reading more have been some of the things to get me through lockdown, this journalist says, ‘I’ve been listening to 300 vinyl records to get me through lockdown’ - BBC News. It’s a great story about looking back at life through the lens of music.
- I really enjoy hyper-realism in art and Mike Hendley) is one of my favourites. It’s 🤯 what can be done with graphite and patience.
- Over the last couple of years, coffee has turned into a little bit of a hobby. I’m looking forward to potentially doing a little bit of camping this year and I’d love to try assembling a setup like this.
Thanks for reading!
Thank you for continuing to read these. It means a lot to know that I am writing something that isn’t just getting gobbled up into some terrible algorithm that cares more about eyes on screens than creating connection. If any of this was interesting or helpful, forward it to a friend! You are the best and only means of getting the word out.
Until next time,
Tìoraidh agus tapadh leibh!