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Wolfville, Nova Scotia


Breaking a Streak

Chris Campbell

I broke a writing streak yesterday.

After getting 750 words done every day for two years, a slight change in my routine meant that I forgot and broke the streak of 748 days. It's a good time to reflect on this habit and routines and writing as I start again.

As I woke up this morning I realized that I hadn't written yesterday which caused a little twinge of anxiety. I remembered because I thought about the films that I had watched the day before as one of the ways that I would find things to write about every day was to write reviews of the films that I'd watched. My daily writing happens on the amazing 750 Words site where I've been a member since March 2010. There is technically no reason that I need the site to write every day or to keep track of the streaks, but there is something about it that makes me want to keep doing it, so that is where I go every day to get some words done. It's one of my favourite places online.

As I write this the longest streak I've had is 748 days, with a total of 2008 days completed since I started. On the site I've written 1,561,569 words, which is a lot. Many of those words were the basis for blog posts, reports, workshops, and journal entries. It's a fundamental part of how I share writing with myself and the world. All the first drafts begin there.

Last year I was on a sabbatical which meant that I didn't have my usual routine of getting up early, making oatmeal and coffee, and then commuting for an hour or so to the city and teaching. With control of my own schedule I would get up every morning, make some oatmeal and coffee, and then sit down and write. Every day there would be at least one review of a film to write which I would then post to Letterboxd. During the Atlantic Film Festival I wrote a number of blog posts previewing the films playing and then writing about the films I'd seen. Having a looser schedule meant that I could spend more time writing and thinking which is wonderful.

But with the return to work and the commute, the schedule and my energy shift and the writing needs to fit in to other times during the day. So the reviews continue, but with less time. There is more writing about work and keeping track of things there through journaling about what has happened in class and with things to share with my classes. But the habit is built and firmly established and continues.

So yesterday I forgot and broke the streak. It bothered me, but it's a good thing as it made me more aware of what I'm doing and why I am doing it. I write to remember and to keep those muscles in shape for reflecting and thinking and sharing. This was the longest streak of writing that I had and I'm grateful for that, but also glad that a busy day gave me to the opportunity to think a bit more about what I was doing and why and how it makes me happy.