Day 1: Why I’m writing every day for 40 days

I’ve always been a cognitive person. It’s a great quality for business (I often find myself three steps ahead of the competition, relying on empirical evidence, data and trends to anticipate the likely next move, allowing me to be prepared for it).

However, it’s a terrible quality for relationships (I often find myself three steps ahead in an argument, relying on empirical evidence, data and trends to anticipate the next move, allowing me to be prepared for it, while not listening to a word she’s saying).

Hey ladies.

By definition, a person with a high cognitive complexity is able to “analyze a situation into many constituent elements, and then explore connections and potential relationships among the elements.”

I’m also a cerebral person, which refers to someone who makes decisions “using intelligence and cold, hard facts, instead of emotions.” It’s an interesting combination.

Which isn’t to say that I’m emotionless. I’ve felt things with my heart before.

I also have a slight obsessive compulsive (dis)order. I like things a certain way: My way. I am a product of my routine: Work, gym, dinner, drink, sleep, repeat. Changes to that routine (at least during the week) cause me an unreasonable amount of anxiety annoyance.

Add in a little attention deficit (dis)order, and you’ve got the makings of one interesting brain to be cerebral inside of. Know what it’s like to be OCD about being ADD? Try starting a fire with lighter fluid and a blow torch in a hurricane.

When it comes to writing, these qualities can be a double (or triple) edged sword. Being cerebral and cognitive is helpful, especially in journalism. I’m able to ask myself the initial question to my thesis before a reader will, and can thus prepare for that. And then anticipate the next one. And next one.

I obsess over word choice, sentence structure, story structure, font size, title and visual aesthetics. Couple that with being cognitive/cerebral, and I’m usually on draft five or six inside my head before I ever type anything at all.

Sprinkle in the ADD, and you have yourself a party. It also means that my unpublished work (whether in my head or in my WordPress folder) is reaching a critical mass. Which brings us to today.

To recap: Hi, my name is Alex and I am OCD, ADD and coldly calculated. Using these as a basis, the next 40 days will make more sense to you as a reader.

I don’t think I’ve ever given up anything for Lent. I’m not very religious (see: cognitive/cerebral), but that doesn’t have anything to do with it. Perhaps it’s a commitment issue… wouldn’t be the first time.

This year, however, I was inspired to take on the 40 day challenge.

Writing is my first love. But, like many people’s first love, writing and I have a tumultuous relationship. Fiery passion coupled with ice-cold hatred. It’s not you, writing, it’s me.

But, over the next 40 days, I vow to change how I’ve treated her by publishing something I’ve written each day.

This will be an exercise in commitment. I must find the time to execute on this self-inflicted challenge, and come up with enough topics to stretch 6 weeks! (Feel free to suggest some prompts.)

This will be an exercise in humility. I intend to write and publish items as a stream of consciousness. I do not intend to censor much. Think of the next 40 days as my public, digital journal: A very intimate look into my brain and thoughts.

This will be an exercise in self-reflection. Self-reflection is an important part of life. I think it’s important to know where you’ve been, why certain things have happened, how they happened, and what your role in these events was in order to understand where you are and where you’re going.

I spend a lot of time contemplating just that – connecting the dots of my own life to try to make sense of the present. I am hoping that by streaming some of these thoughts onto this blog over the next 40 days frees up more of my own mental space.

It’s going to be a lot of head vs. heart stories – internal battles between calculation and emotion.

This will be me sorting some things out in real-time, with all of you. By connecting some of my dots, hopefully it’ll help you connect some of yours.

I’ll also just spout off about nonsensical topics where I see fit. Because I make the rules here.

I don’t intend to do any reporting, research or other “journalistic” actions in this project. I only plan to write pieces on my life, what I value, why I value it, some stories from high school, college, so on and so forth – written in the first person. Many of them will be items I’ve started and just haven’t had the chance to finish or items that I’ve been writing in my head for months (or years). Hell, I may even drop some poetry on you. Think the next 39 of these as the first draft of a novel, written in 40 non-consecutive, unrelated chunks.

I know this initial post makes very little sense. My ADD won this battle, but there is more focus coming. It might get a little weird over the next 40 days. You may be shocked, saddened, excited or surprised by what you read. Maybe you’ll laugh, maybe you’ll cry, hopefully you’ll think. By the end of it all you’ll definitely learn a little bit more about me, but hopefully you’ll learn a little about yourself as well.

Thanks for taking this journey with me.

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10 comments

  1. Nonnie · · Reply

    I look forward to this journey with you😀

    1. Glad to have you along!

  2. I am excited to be a part of this journey with you!! Love you!!

  3. You don’t have to post my comments if you don’t want.

    1. You’re so funny.

  4. […] DAY 1: WHY I’M WRITING EVERY DAY FOR 40 DAYS […]

  5. Tammy Z · · Reply

    I think I’m going to enjoy this journey of insight into who you are now vs who you used to be when I knew you better. Thank you for sharing this part of you with us.

    1. Happy to have you along, Tammy 🙂

  6. Linda E. · · Reply

    You may not remember us very well (New Year’s in Philly), but we care deeply about your Mom, you, and your family. It is kind of unfair that we’ll get to know you way better than you know us as we read your journal. But we feel privileged to share your journey.

    1. Hi Linda! Thank you for sharing this with me. This is going to get a little dark, a little weird and a little not-safe-for-work, but it’s going to be good. Anyone who cares about my mother and my family is family to me.

      Cheers and God bless.

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