I wouldn’t want to call it journaling, but it is something I picked up along the way from conversations at the Roam Book Club. It is an attempt to commit to writing every day. Kate suggested this in the closing session of RBC4. Something of a particular length you produce a habit. I have never kept a diary. I am not the kind of person who randomly writes my feelings. I can’t seem to do that. They somehow don’t exist in the thought stream. I prefer Orwell over Didion. I write mostly to get all imaginings about architecture and its practices I have accumulated in the past 20 years to locate a discourse. But what got me hooked on the idea of the production of daily sentences is Sally Rooney’s Conversation with Friends. The book is but a collection of well-crafted sentences, I think, that go very well together.
What I like about writing sentences is, I don’t have to think. Words are directly imprinted on the screen in front. It is my thinking practice, the 1/3rd part of the writing practice. For now, it supports organizing the making of a domain-specific note-taking system. The daily pages in Roam caused the tick, the impulse to reflect on everyday consumption and production. It’s not that I haven’t attempted daily projects but seeing a date hit you every morning is not the same when it is on a calendar. It makes you think about what you plan to accomplish and reflect on its outcomes. It can get stressful I must say, all those imaginations. Every day is brand new. Every day is a bunch of opportunities in the morning and disappointments in the evening. I got my early set of daily writing done that way. I was producing a lot but somehow it seemed to be tied only into Roam pages and couldn’t find a place anywhere else.
I got back to Word this way. 23rd February, I onboarded Roam and on 30th June I started pushing out daily sentences on substack from the newer dark mode version of good old Word. Roam has these bullets that give you a high every time you press enter. I say it simulates progress. One day, I don’t exactly remember when while working on closing my notes on RBC4 all work in Roam somehow seemed like a simulation. All that productivity high somehow became fake. Two things I have done to make up for what I think can match on Word. The first is to increase the font size to 18pt. The number of words that fit on a page is almost like a smaller font size on a centered, readability optimized mode of any note-taking app. To that, I add, line-numbering. It gives the same kick as bullet points, occupies lesser space, and once I hit around 300words, I move them to edit. 300 is the minimum, when I need to write more it is on multiples of, 600, 900, and 1200. Tracking art bots daily is something I would recommend. Before editing the text, I make sure I have found the one that will lead the text.
Most days I delete the text from the file when I finish. I don’t have different day word files, I reuse the same one daily. I still have to get to archiving my sentences but I will get to that when I get to that. Every day I have the date in a YYMMDDHHMM format and the line number at 3 waiting for me to go. I have successfully emulated Roam’s daily notes page on a Word file. Yesterday is gone and today has newer possibilities. I am not sure if I am thinking yesterday’s thoughts but every day the thoughts don’t seem like they had anything to do with yesterday. The blank page seems very optimistic every day. It is almost two months now. There are days when I haven’t been able to file the sentences on time, i.e., within the 24 stipulated hours, but I am alright with it. If I make it daily, 365 daily sentences, for a year till next June, I will find happiness in that milestone.