There are two things going on here: the blog and the simpler living plan. The decision to start this blog to document my goals and fears about simpler living had one purpose: to develop the discipline to make time for something creative. And, after a couple months, I see that simpler living is showing me how to be a better writer.
When I was younger, I didn’t think about making time for creativity, I just did creative stuff: writing, drawing, sewing, crafting. When I got a “real” job, that stuff slowly diminished. And working as a technical writer disinclined me to do more writing, even if creative, for a hobby.
My commitment to myself to post once a week takes time away from overworking in the evenings or from the Internet time warp (you know, where I start reading an article linked from social media, travel through many other articles, cat videos, biographies and images then magically end up in the same physical location two hours later).
In the last couple years, I’ve been aware of how those Internet adventures have changed my reading: if an article or post is long, I won’t even start reading it. With a large number of new emails a day, if I receive one with a long message, I will postpone reading it until later when I think I may make time to give to it. If someone shares a photo album on social media with more than a dozen images, I am unlikely to open even the first picture.
And so the Internet has changed my writing: blogging is a unique form and I am careful about limiting the word count so that the length is inviting to readers. I do a brain dump of ideas, sentences, and bullet points that all get formed into a post. Then the real work begins: removing what is not essential, combing through it again and again and again until I am under my word count and there is nothing else I want to remove. I’d forgotten how much I like to write and I’m discovering how much I like to rewrite.
It struck me that the rewriting for a blog post is like returning to a simpler life: it’s getting rid of all the unnecessary stuff to create more meaning and emphasis with the words I leave. I am purging words to reveal the core of what is important to me and that might otherwise be hidden. That is what creating a simpler life is to me: removing that which does not add value or beauty so that the intentional has space to shine.