May 12. “Writing is a form of prayer.” (Franz Kafka)
A while back I wrote about, and talked about, how I was in a funk. I had hit a plateau in my weight loss, and my life in general seemed to be in neutral. At times I was even teetering on the brink of depression. That funk lasted a while, and I am happy to say that it has abated some.
When I consider myself and ascribe characteristics to my personality, I often will say that I am an optimist. I think that is because I want to be an optimist. I truly desire to see the positive in life, to see the beauty surrounding me, to see hope and possibility. Some who know me will raise their hand and agree that I can be a font of positivity. Others who know me, perhaps more intimately, would say that there is another side to me, a side that broods. Sometimes I can be downright dour. When I find myself in that state, it makes me want to be different, to re-embrace the optimism. The problem is that sometimes I don’t realize I’ve fallen into that particular rat hole.
While working through my recent funk, and in the few weeks since, I have been wondering what changed. I have been wondering what were the contributing factors that led to my being so down. Being a person who thrives in summer, the fact that winter was ending and spring was beginning should have been cause for my mood to rise. The fact that it didn’t meant that something else was in play.
There are many reasons I have discovered and pondered that got me into a funk. As mentioned above, my weight loss stalled and put me into a different phase of my Journey towards better health. I was approaching the month of May, which, despite the weather, has been a month that historically has included loss in my life. I am working through these factors and others.
One thing that jumped out at me is that I stopped writing. In 2014 I wrote nearly every day. I took on a project to write about an inspirational quote each day, and to publish it on my blog. When the new year came, I reached the end of the book that had been providing the quotes. I felt a sense of relief and accomplishment. I continued to write almost every day, and even took on a new project. From February 21 to April 3, I wrote a series of 30 posts about the book How to Win Friends and Influence People. I really enjoyed writing that series, but two things happened to my writing. First, I stopped writing every day during the project. Because I wanted to make sure that kept up a particular timing, and because each post directly related to a chapter from the book, I tended to write the articles in spurts, usually on the weekend. I wasn’t rising daily to write. The other thing that happened was that when the project came to an end, I stopped writing almost completely.
My wife and I were talking about how I stopped writing when I reached the end of the project on How tin Win Friends and Influence People. As we were discussing it I realized that part of the reason I stopped writing was that I had looked upon it as a project. As a project manager, I know that any project has a beginning and an end, and I had let my writing end.
All of this is a long way around to say that I need to write again. I chose the Kafka quote above because I do believe that for me, the act of writing is about reflection on myself. It is about prayer in the form of working to be a better person. When I write, I think, and when I think, I grow.
When I was in the 365 project last year, I wrote most of my entries in a Microsoft Word file called “Inspiration”. Today I opened a new file called “New 365”. My intent is to get back to daily writing. I don’t intend to use a book to guide me through quotes this time, and I may not always write about inspirational quotes. Last year when I was working through that project there were times when I wanted to write about other things, but they didn’t fit the quote of the day. This time I am going to allow my own spirit to guide me through the writing. At times I will write about quotes. Other times I will write about current events and my take on them. Still other times I will just write what is bouncing around in my head. But, I will write.
For me writing is prayer, on that point Kafka is correct. And it’s high time that I got back to that particular form of prayer.