This week someone posted in a WhatsApp group I’m part of, asking if anybody knew of a gym that would be shut over lockdown, and might be willing to let him borrow their equipment. I was kinda amused, picturing this chap lugging an industrial sized treadmill up a few flights of stairs and having it occupy the majority of his small London flat for a month. But also, I have to admit, I was impressed by his proactivity. He had a vision for how he wanted to emerge from lockdown. And whilst everyone else was stocking up on rice and loo rolls, this guy was making provisions to continue his exercise regime.
Early on in the pandemic, I was asked to write an article based on a Twitter thread I’d posted. After three days of on-and-off attempts, I realised it wasn’t coming together. My writing was flabby. My train of thought was all over the place. I couldn’t land the ideas. What should have been a simple enough task proved to be frustrating and fruitless.
While I was trying to jolt myself out of writer’s block, I realised it’s been three years since I’ve written anything here. October 2017 was my last written post. Of course, I’ve written plenty in between – talks, training materials, copy for print and web, journaling, short stories – but my blogging has dried up entirely. I’ve not put out my thoughts, in my name, on my website. And I’ve got out of practice. So faced with the task of writing an article, I felt like I was attempting to complete couch to 5k in a single day!
I never finished it…
As we enter Lockdown 2.0 I want to get back into the discipline of writing. I have aspirations to write more substantially in the future, and the only way I’m going to get there is by regularly putting fingers to keys and working those creative muscles.
Blogging is an annoyingly public way to exercise. I dislike the feeling that I’m foisting my own attempts at self-improvement upon others who may have zero interest. We all have that friend who shares every Strava run to Facebook and then claims they “didn’t realise it posted automatically.” Fooling no-one with their ‘accidental’ boasting. That’s kinda how I feel about this. But I don’t know any other way to grow as a writer.
So with mixed feelings I’ve resurrected this website, given it a fresh lick of paint, a new domain, and I’m limbering up. I figured that investing in a paid hosting plan may encourage me to do it with some regularity. Only time will tell whether that will actually work, or if it’s the blogging equivalent of the well-intentioned guy who signs up to a gym in January and is still paying for it by the Summer, despite having used it precisely twice.
I toyed with deleting the old posts and simply starting with a clean slate. But scrolling back through my archive has been an interesting experience. Like looking over old photos, I’ve had both experiences of thinking, “Wow, I looked in better shape back then” and also “What on earth was I wearing?” There are many posts I’m proud of, and a few that still get a decent number of hits and shares. But there are also plenty that are poorly written, and a few I even actively disagree with these days. I’ll let you figure out which are which.
In the end, I decided to leave them there to give me something to aspire to. I want to regain my ability to quickly, regularly and creatively organise and express my thoughts in written form. So like a photo of a younger, fitter self, I hope my old posts will be a motivation of something to work back towards. But also, I trust they will be a reminder of the ways I have changed, the new perspectives and insights I have gained. May the posts that make me cringe keep me humble.
It will take me a while to hit my stride, I’m sure, and to work out what exactly I want to be writing about. I’ll begin with a few book reviews and personal reflections and see where I settle. Some of them deep and spiritual, some lighter and frivolous. Who knows, some of them may even be worth reading…