The other day, I read a post on medium by Remittence Girl setting out the idea, and some rules for writing a little bit every day, 500 words, before doing anything else, and in particular before getting involved in social media.

This isn't a new or unique idea, many writers and journalists have promoted the idea of a daily writing habit, and there are modern incarnations of the idea including Jeff Goins' 500 words a day challenge and 750 words.

Writing is a bit of an odd thing for me: I do it a lot - my job make extensive use of email and I spend quite a bit of my leisure time on IRC. In my academic work I've usually gotten encouraging feedback about the basic quality of what I've written, but even after six years of Open University study I don't feel that I really understand how to 'write like an academic'. I've made attempts at journaling before, both online and more recently on paper but sticking to the habit, and finding things that I wish to write about, was hard.

As it happens, this might dovetail with another bit of, personal development I suppose you could call it, that I've been working on - rising early. In my adult life at least I've never considered myself to be much of a morning person, and both staying up late and sleeping late have tended to be a pattern that I've fallen in to. With a 9-5 job that has tended to result in mornings that are a rush to get washed and dressed before dashing out the door.

So, for a few weeks now I've been getting up at 0500, which has been harder some days that others. This gives me plenty of time before I need to leave to get ready, have a cooked breakfast if I feel like it, collect my newspaper and listen to the radio, all at a relaxed pace. I've considered taking the time to got for a run but I'm leaving that until the weather warms up a bit.

With that extra time in the morning journaling feels like something I should be able to do, and getting my own thoughts down before I dive into the news and social media ought to be interesting.

Remittence Girl's suggestion is to do this for a week, so I will endeavour to stick to that and should it work out I'll see if I can keep going. I'm writing this in my ikiwiki blog but I've not yet decided whether I will publish it. Blogging is a little bit performative and comes (to me, anyway) with a pressure to write in a way that has a purpose, which feels at odds with what the #500words concept is about. I might publish some posts but not others, or put them up in batches rather than as a day-by-day thing.

This feels to me like a good start and I now have an idea of how much I'll need to write. Now to commit it and see if my ikiwiki still works after two years of neglect.

(523 words)