birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Practice vs. Homework

Some of you have asked or commented about making up a day's prompt that you missed, or have binged and done three prompts in one day.

That means it's a good time for my short lecture on Practice vs. Homework. 

As you go through this program -- voluntarily, I might add -- please remember that this is designed to be a 40-day practice. A practice, as in a yoga practice. Or as in a meditation practice. Or practice as in, it doesn't have to be perfect. A practice as in the point of doing this is that you are doing it.

What it is not is homework. Homework you have to do, like it or not. If you miss an assignment you have to catch up. You get graded on homework. None of that applies here.

So if you miss a day, you miss a day. Don't beat yourself up, and don't feel like you can't go on to day 8 until you have completed day 7. And really don't feel like you have to do days 7 and 8 on one day to make up for missing something. I think of it like this: I missed my yoga class on Wednesday, so I'll go to one on Thursday, but I'm not going to go to two on Thursday, right?

Now, one caveat: What I have noticed from myself and from others is that if you miss one day, it's really no big deal. But if you miss two days in a row, momentum gets lost. Three days and it's harder to get back into the swing of things.

Some of you are perhaps completionists; you won't be satisfied if you don't do all 40 days. Enjoy. You can file any day's writing at an time on the Workout page. But know this: I have done 40 Days & 40 Writes twice -- once by myself and one as part of the Canary Flock. I managed 30 days the first time and 33 the second.

This week we'll remain in memory mode a bit longer as the time targets tick upward.  Thanks for sharing all your stories so far; I love reading them, seeing how different they are and where they unexpectedly overlap.

Onward and upward!

— Robin 


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