Four Each Day

Scott Lee Williams in Brooklyn is doing a project called Four Each Day. He explains, "Four Each Day is a blog in which I write four sentences each day, about something that happened that day (within the previous 24 hours). After some false starts over the years (I've been doing it on and off since 2007) I am well on my way this year to actually accomplishing my goal of 365 days of posting."...

Why did I decide to do this project? It started initially as a response to James Kolchalka's "American Elf" comic. I was frustrated by the fact that I love the webcomic format, but had very neither drawing skills, nor much inclination to learn.

Since I'm relatively fluent in the English language, I (rather stupidly in retrospect) decided to write a blog post as if each sentence was a panel in a comic, as if the two formats could somehow transpose in some meaningful fashion. Of course, what ended up happening had very little resemblance to a comic, web or otherwise, but I liked the restriction, and decided to keep it.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected my life? The format itself had an interesting effect on my writing style, in that I've had to learn how to construct sentences with both greater economy and greater density of information. If I only have four sentences in which to communicate the details essential to whatever story I'm trying to tell, I'd better be able to pack exactly what I need into what little space I have. This leads in two directions:  simplicity, and byzantine elaboration. I've become conversant in subordinate clauses, abstruse punctuation rules, and in using the precise word in the exact spot. This has made my longer form writing more interesting to read, and more crafted.

The effect of doing something every day, on the other hand, has been of a different sort. The blog is a way of transforming my life.

A quote I read recently pretty much captures it: "Stories happen to those who tell them." If I'm paying attention to my life in order to have a story to tell everyday, I begin to pay more attention to my life in general. As I pay attention, my life becomes more interesting, more fun, and wiser. As I write out the stories of my life, more stories come to me, in an increasingly positive feedback loop. I also come to recognize how much the story that is my life is constructed, how much I create it in the telling. From this, I'm learning to tell stories more to my liking, and thus to create a better life.

Read all of Scott's sentences HERE.

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