Recently I came across three things which, combined, have resulted in the project I am doing on this blog:
30 days of writing for the sake of writing.
I read Catherine Deveny’s book Use Your Words, in which she encourages readers to stop putting it off and just write. And then write more. And more. You only become a writer if you write, was the basic premise of the book.
It contrasted strongly with my own desire to learn more about the writing process, how to write, and even the fundamentals of grammar before I actually sit down at the keyboard. I want to make sure I get it right so much so that I have signed up for an online grammar course, one of the recommendations of which is to read more so that you can see how writers you like craft their words and learn about writing that way.
Ms Deveny doesn’t go for this idea. She says that readers read; writers write and, if you want to be a writer, don’t spend time reading when you really want to be writing.
I can see valid points in both arguments. But I digress.
The second thing that has lead to this blog is an e-book I got from The Write Practice, which provided 10 steps to becoming a writer. The first one was, surprisingly to me, not to write, but to publish. It argues that you write to be read, so you need to publish in order for this to happen. Ms Deveny might not agree with this, but it makes a good point. If your goal is to be read, then yes, you need to put your work out there so that people read it. The book suggests that “publishing” can take many forms and could be as simple as a Facebook post, an email to a friend or a blog post. To make sure you do this, it suggests that your writing doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, nor does it have to be perfect.
You just need to do it, because [insert quote about ships being safe in the harbour but that isn’t the purpose of a ship, or something else about done is better than perfect, or doing is better than not doing because at the end of 12 months you’ll have 12 months worth of writing if you did it, rather than nothing if you didn’t. You get the idea].
The final piece of the puzzle that has encouraged me to do this was a challenge from Kendra Wright to do a 30-day comfort zone challenge around something you feel could make a big impact in your life. She suggested creating more in your chosen field as one option – take a photograph every day for 30 days – or writing, which is something I have recently discovered I really want to do more of.
So this is the challenge – to write a blog post every day for 15 minutes, no matter how shit it is. To do the writing, publish it and be damned. To take action, even if it’s not perfect, or even if it’s the wrong action. I don’t have to be ready, I don’t have to feel like I have all the skills and the background understanding how to write, I just have to write. Sure I can learn that stuff as I go, but the key is to start writing, and to keep going.
For the next 30 days I will commit to 15 minutes of writing – whatever comes into my head at the time – and I will publish it at the end of 15 minutes, no matter how bad it is, whether I have finished or not. I will write for the sake of writing, with no expectations and no (or very little) judgment.
This is Day 1. 29 to go.