Mario Villalobos

The Journey After 200 Days

I’m struggling to be a more consistent writer. I want to be a better writer, and I know to become better, I have to write every day. I have to work on my craft as much as I can. I write a lot, but I don’t know how much or if my writing is improving. I don’t give myself enough time to revise my words or think through a concept and develop it organically. I force myself to write 500 words because that’s the only way I know how to measure progress. That might be the problem. Writing 500 words every day is a tangible goal, but what I’m yearning for isn’t something tangible. I’m yearning for something I can’t measure, and I think that’s called art.

I’ve been measuring my progress in many areas of my life that I think have helped me. For example, this is my 200th entry. I rattled off a bunch of stats for my 100th entry, which I can do again: I’m over 65,000 words in my novel. I’m over 124,000 words in this blog. I’m hovering around 170 lbs, but I’ve become more cut in the past few months than ever before. My job is great and still paying well. My car is running great. All my stuff from California is still making me happy. My habits and routines are vast and stronger than ever. My life feels like it’s on cruise control, and I think that’s because I’m so concerned with numbers and not on quality. Numbers measuring my progress have kept me in check, and I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for them, but I believe I’ve outgrown them. My desire isn’t to do something every day anymore because I trust myself to show up and do the work; instead, my desire is to use what I’ve built and improve upon it in a very intangible way, but I don’t know what that looks like yet.

I’m struggling to find something meaningful and enjoyable to write after six months of doing this every day. It’s easier keeping a journal and writing in it every day because those words are just for me. I try not to let this happen, but writing publicly changes what I think I should write about. I want to at least leave my readers somewhat informed on something. Sometimes I don’t know what I want to write about and other times I do. I’m just not consistent. Once I complete my goal of 365 entries, I’m definitely relaxing my daily goal. I’ll continue to write in my journal on a daily basis, but I’ll try to limit by blog output to an entry a week. I hope that’ll give me more time to produce something meaningful. But these are easy plans for the future when I’m more concerned with now.

The only way to improve is to keep producing work that I can evaluate. I need to learn from my mistakes and grow. I need to surround myself with writers better than me and learn from them. I need to do more than just write. I have to live, and that’s the real challenge, isn’t?