Never stop never stopping
On the art of keeping going
Last week I sat down at the kitchen table with my coffee and peanut butter toast and realized I didn’t have a diary to write in. I’d finished my current diary the morning before and had forgotten to bring in a fresh notebook from the studio to begin a new one.
For a brief moment, I thought to myself, You know, you could just… stop.
I was surprised how woozy the thought made me. You could just stop.
I preach the power of the daily practice, the unstoppable momentum you get from the chain-smoking, lighting one day off the end of the other approach. The way small things over time get big.
But sometimes I lose sight of what it actually means to me in my own creative life. How much I rely on the structure of the systems I’ve put in place: keeping my diary, blogging, writing this very newsletter, etc. If “normal is what you can successfully ignore,” then that’s how normal not stopping is to me.
That thought, You could just stop, had a kind of deranging effect on me. For a split second, I was in an existential free-fall.
Then I grabbed a nearby newspaper, tore it up into diary-sized pages, and wrote about thinking about not writing. An hour later, I glued the pages into my diary, and voila, I had a new diary going:
Ann Friedman recently celebrated 10 years of her newsletter with a letter called “A Decade of Practicing.” What she wrote really rang true to my own experience:
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