Tuesday, September 1, 2015

42-Day Challenge

I've been after myself to write more. I enjoy it. I get a lot out of it. It's good for me. It helps me build my community. But for some reason, I have the **hardest** time actually doing it. I can always find something else to do, which usually involves sitting on my couch at home and watching tv or reading a not-so-intellectual novel while snacking on something that I really don't need to eat.

So I need a way to encourage myself to write. Starting last patrol, I drafted up a list of personal goals -- I even geeked out on it to the point that I printed out a spreadsheet with the dates at the top, and little boxes to check off for each goal that I completed each day or week or month. Some of the goals have stayed the same for this patrol: Eat healthy things first (this gives me permission to eat dessert, but I really must eat my salad first), drink two bottles of water per day, limit myself to 2 alcohol drinks per night on liberty port calls, and email my family at least once/week (they're very patient with me for sending out one mass email that copies everyone and the cousins, and even more patient when I don't actually get one sent).

New for this patrol are: Train for a 1/2 marathon that takes place a few weeks after we return to homeport (I'm sure there will be more on this later, but just as a teaser, it takes 34 laps around the flight deck to make a mile), do my neck stretches at least 3 times per day, and...write a blog post a day for 42 days straight, starting today.

42 seems like a random number, but the more I thought about it, the more I like it. I initially chose it because...well, I turned 42 last month and it has a nice poetic symmetry to it. It's also exactly six weeks of writing, which will be challenging, but is totally do-able and may help me develop some good habits that I want to cultivate.
We'll also be underway for the whole time, which gives me good material to write about, but makes me also think I need some rules for what I can legitimately call a post:

-- I must be extremely careful to not give away operational details, including schedules or techniques, tactics and procedures (TTP, pronounced tee-tee-pee), which in some ways is no fun at *all* because that's where some of the best stories come from. But OPSEC (operational security, pronounced op-sek) is important -- lose lips sink ships, and all that.

-- It's no fair for posts to just be a recitation of the day's meals, as tempting as that is because food is morale. Nor can I just provide a recall of what we did that day -- see rule 1.

-- Posts can be short, but there needs to be substance in each one. A story, a well-developed thought, or some insight. The best ones will be a combination of all three.

I'm going to ask a couple things of you:
-- Please encourage me. I don't think this will be easy. I have a lot of things to track and do as XO, and those are definitely my priority. But I think I'm good enough at my job that I can take 20 minutes or so a day to do something that I want to do for myself. I just won't always want to, and your encouragement will help me to do it anyway.

-- Please understand that underway internet connectivity is not entirely reliable. I will try my best to write every day, but posts may not go up on a daily basis because of when they get sent out to my trusted agent ashore.

Which brings me to my trusted agent ashore -- my Uncle Heathen. He has graciously offered to act as intermediary for me and post what I send him. Uncle H, thanks very much for helping me with this endeavor!

Thanks also go out, in advance, to my CO, CDR JMC. He is trusting me with an enormous amount of latitude by allowing me to post underway. I will do my best to uphold that trust, by following the rules I already shared with the crew (and on the blog) when I came to DILIGENCE.

Now, bring me that horizon!

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