One Thing a Day — What Happened?


After my birthday and my eighth blogiversary, I had this brilliant idea in which to re-energize my blog. I would sit down every night at midnight and write the first thing that came to my mind, no matter how short a piece, like an old-fashioned personal diary.  It seemed like an effective and simple concept, and I promoted it to others.

It was a very very very bad idea.

Most of my friends are full of compassion and dedicated to social justice, using their online influence to better the world. They share their “secrets to success.” They rally their followers against what is wrong in our society — from income inequality to gaining universal acceptance of gay marriage. Or they make us laugh, to ease the pain.

But when I sit down to write, at least at the midnight hour, when the night goes silent, and the city settles into bed, there is nothing more fearful than the voice of my honest heart. I hear the cries of disappointment and anger, lust and shame, jealousy and tears. I bully myself for my lack of courage, and then I turn to you, the reader, with my index finger shaking in your face, mocking your hypocrisy, blindness, and pettiness. And then, when guilt sets in, I apologize, begging for forgiveness.

“It is love talking,” I say. “I love you too much. And you don’t love me enough.”

It’s partly true.   No, it’s mostly bullshit.   I don’t know what I’m saying.  And that’s the problem.  At midnight, when thoughts arise, they bounce around in unexpected ways, like a rubber ball in a racquetball court. Stories of love and friendship warp into tales of yearning and abandonment.

Writing takes discipline and intelligence. There is none of that at midnight in my house. Now you know why I abandoned this “write every day” project after day four.

It would kill me.  I need to go back to writing during the day, when the sun is out.  Maybe once a week.

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21 Responses to One Thing a Day — What Happened?

  1. akaMonty says:

    You really should write at 2am, because you know that’s when all the best ideas come.
    Also most of us can relate to yearning and abandonment (and mocking), so carry on. :)
    akaMonty posted Just call me Mother Fail.

  2. I say do what you want, when you want. And when you’re ready to write, long or short, we’re here to read.

  3. Josh says:

    Nothing harder than finding that time to write. I’ve actually figured out how to squeeze a little time out of my metro ride. Posting every day is an admirable goal, but no shame in ceding to reality. Reach for the stars, hit the ceiling.
    Josh posted Continuing Obsessions: The Irish-Jewish Connection

  4. I’d welcome any of your writing at any time of day. Although I’d caution against that darkest hour just before dawn.
    Elizabeth Aquino posted Applying for SSI, Day Two

  5. I think you should have two blogs: “Citizen of the Month” for the Neil we all know and love, and “Neil in the Dark,” for that other crazed, confused, angry, lustful, petty Neil.
    V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios posted The art of personal correspondence

  6. Write it for yourself and vomit all that nasty stuff up. It will make your daytime writing better and free you from the voices bouncing around in your head.
    Lily from It’s A Dome Life posted She’s a Brick House and I Painted Her

  7. Kim @ LiaH says:

    Darlin’ this is YOUR blog, YOUR outlet, YOUR avenue to write about anything your heart desires. If you want to get all snarky and finger-wagging, you go right ahead. I, too, had the grand designs of blogging at least once per day. Unfortunately, real life has other plans (for all of us) and so we write when we can, get snarky when we can’t, and hope and pray for brilliance in between.
    Kim @ LiaH posted The Best of Both Worlds – Deciding on a New Web Browser

  8. sizzle says:

    I don’t know, Neil. I’d read those posts. I like the confused clutter of a mind willing to be honest and vulnerable.
    sizzle posted A Whole Lot of What

  9. Tanya says:

    I don’t know why but most of my thoughts usually come to me when I am trying to sit down and read a book. Then I have to put down my book and write down all the amazing thought I just had.
    Tanya posted The Best WordPress Anti-Spam Plugins for 2012-2013

  10. Sara says:

    Hey Neil, better out than in, right? I have published daily and found that the intensity was too much (for me), but other people (readers) liked it fine. I liked what you wrote, but if you don’t want to go there -understood!
    Sara posted You are enough.

  11. Angella says:

    I’m reading whenever you write, Neil. :)
    Angella posted Ask And You Shall Receive

  12. When the urge to write strikes, you’ll know. Forcing your brain into a schedule for blogging – unlike work writing which presumably has to respect other people’s deadlines, unless you are lucky enough to set your own – may not be the best idea.

    I did find the one thing a day effort commendable though and reminiscent of the heyday of blogging, back when we all wrote whatever the hell we pleased without a second thought about what anyone else might think, stats, monetization or fame.

    “Don’t be so hard on yourself” is the phrase that springs to mind, but if you weren’t then you wouldn’t be you anymore I guess…
    Hannah Curious posted The unconditional acceptance of a bat on stilts

  13. Andrea says:

    I’m not sure how this is my first time visiting you here – but I agree with what many have said. Write when you want about what you want. It has to work for you or it won’t work for anyone, right?

    And btw, that is the best picture of all time. I love it and I’m homesick.
    Andrea posted I remember.

  14. ozma says:

    I wouldn’t say the internet is a love-free zone. But the internet is not a good conduit for love.

  15. Write what you want when you want. A midnight project could be interesting. This one you lost interest in. No worries. There will be other midnights.

    Maybe we should all agree to only read your posts at midnight. Would that help?
    Josette Plank posted Conversation With My Pre-Teen About Victoria’s Secret Underwear

  16. teamgloria says:

    sometimes your instagram feed has hinted at the dark despair of the midnight hour but, to be totally honest, that’s why we came to visit your blog again – as Harry said in When Harry Met Sally – that, my friend, is a Dark Side.


    we write gloria after a large cup of coffee early in the morning.

    but we write marion (in the new book) after a depressing day of futile longing and not enough carbs for that right edge of brilliant bitterness.

    write on, fair man. write on.

  17. Kevin says:

    I struggle a bit with this. Part of me wants to run a well thought out writing schedule. Maybe even writing posts for the week on the weekend. But I think I do my best when I’m just winging it. Either that, or I’m lazy and maybe unorganized.
    Kevin posted Start Before You’re Ready

  18. Some of my worst thoughts (and probably most honest) come at night after I’m completely exhausted. We like your honesty, but tinker with what makes you comfortable. You’re brave. Braver than me.
    Rainbow Motel posted Free To Be–You and Me. Well…Maybe Just You.

  19. Stacey says:

    I still haven’t figured out the rules for writing. Should I write only when I feel inspired? Should I force myself to stick to a schedule and practice a little self-discipline for once? Must I post at least X times a week? Is this post too different from my usual style? When did blogging get so complicated? Wasn’t I writing for myself?
    Stacey posted Hiccups

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