I made a 2015 resolution to write more. “Write more” has been a vague goal for the past few years. I wrote more in 2014 than I had in years past, but it still wasn’t enough. I wanted to write every day. I needed to make a commitment and take action.
I started the year by signing up for One Month’s 30 Day Writing Challenge. Every day for the month of January they sent me a writing prompt. The prompts were great and I started writing, every other day. And sometimes every third day. By the end of January I had written about 13 times. Still not enough.
I kept at it and whittled the list of remaining prompts down, but I needed more motivation. I wasn’t reaching my goal. One of the resources listed on One Month was 750 Words. I clicked and found myself challenged to write 750 words a day, every single day. Ok, I can do this. Sign me up now.
I started mid-February and my first order of business was to crush the remaining One Month prompts. I could write about anything I want. There were no rules. Just 750 words.
It’s been 57 days since I started and I haven’t missed a day yet. I’ve written poems, fiction, non-fiction, jokes, scripts, mantras and more. I don’t plan it. I just sit and write. It has been cathartic to spew three pages of my random ruminations every single day. It clears out my head to allow me to process my thoughts and focus on what is important.
Another goal for this year was increased focus. To get there I needed to simplify. I reduced my insatiable need for media input, unsubscribed from countless newsletters, slashed my RSS feeds and took a few steps back from several social media platforms. I couldn’t write if I was always reading. Over the last several weeks I have barely watched TV. My time has been focused on writing and reading real books.
Initially I hoped to use my 750 words to blog more, but I found that most of my writing was often about making sense of my day. Most days it is just a work in progress and not worth publication. It is my workshop. I can hammer out ideas and get to the essence of what’s happening. Somewhere in each of those 750 word entries, however, there is a solid future blog post.
For March I committed to writing every single day. I made it. Thirty one days. 24,000 words.
What did I learn?
Writing is hard. Good writing can be painstaking. There are a lot of ideas that sound amazing until you try to write them down. What seems so groundbreaking in your head seems pretty trite on paper. It requires focus, planning and a bit of inspiration.
Writing is work. The words don’t always flow, but you must keep going. Sit down. Pen in hand. Ass in chair. Words on paper. The point is to write. Don’t stop. Don’t check email. Don’t check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or text messages. Keep writing. It will take shape. Words will come.
Writing is liberating. I have written out dark memories, deep fears and painful thoughts. Once on paper they just aren’t very scary. As a matter of fact they seem minor and insignificant. I put them down on paper and the process allowed me to let them go.
Writing is scary. It seems so simple, but once you start pouring your heart into it the work gets tough. I wrote about some personal things and changed to third person just so I could be more honest about what happened. I could write it about someone as if it were else but not myself.
I have published three pieces of fiction on my blog. This is a first for me. The pieces were fun to write and vaguely fun to read so I published them. Big risk, but I got some good feedback. Or maybe kind feedback. It doesn’t matter. I did it and I am proud of it.
I will never be a gifted writer. I am a solid, persuasive writer. Occasionally I get lucky and write something above my weight class. Real writing is a gift. You don’t see it often. But when you do it is breathtaking. That is not my ability.
I will keep writing. 750 words a day, every day. And I will focus on publishing more. One day I may prove myself wrong. Maybe I do have a gift. I just need to keep writing until I get there.