On Writing, Streaks, and Coin Flips
Streaks used to make me anxious.
If I managed to write for two days in a row, the next day was guaranteed to be a stress-filled nightmare. As the streak grew, so did the pressure to maintain it — to the point that I was guaranteed to fail.
In spite of that, I used to believe streaks had a positive effect on my writing. “Don’t break the chain,” I would say, echoing Jerry Seinfeld’s famous advice, as if past success could be a predictor of future achievement.
After a nearly perfect streak of 800 days without writing, I learned to see things differently.
A writing streak is just like a series of coin flips.
If you get heads ten times in a row, your odds of getting heads again next time are still only 50%. Anyone who believes otherwise is being irrational.
My odds of getting any writing done today do not depend on whether or not I wrote five, ten, or a hundred days earlier.
Today is the second day of my 100-word writing challenge. I’m wise enough to know that means absolutely nothing.
Don’t get me started on momentum, willpower, or any of that nonsense.
Life is chaos.