Just like any of the arts, writing is deeply personal. Not just what one writes, but the process one uses to get the words out. I chose to partake in the month long writing challenge I dubbed Journaling June to push myself in order to learn more about what kind of process I need to be a productive writer. This is what I learned.
Start Strong. Limp Pathetically Along. Drag Across the Finish Line.
It was every New Years resolution played out. I knew it would be. Why’d I do it? Because I’m an idiot. I’m addicted to the idea that if I only . . . If I just did . . . It didn’t work last time, but this time . . . Persistence and tenacity are great things to have, but they have to be tempered with some sanity.
(which we may have picked up, but only time will tell.)
This is how it went. I started off confident and strong. The numbers (visitors, views, clicks) were a direct correlate, day 3 being the best. Then the motivation, quality, and numbers start dropping as the days went on. At about the half way mark the drop was significant. I was ready to quit and there are three or four visitors and three or four views. By the end I was reduced to gimmicks and cheats to get through. And I’m not sure if I was more relieved that it’s over or the subscribed readers.
(their inbox won’t be junked up with another crap update.)
Except for this wrap up.
This challenge was a trial to both me and the readers. This overload is what kills anything good that might come from it—at least for me. For me, it was simply too much to publish something everyday. Yes, I can do it, but in doing it two things happen. One, the joy was completely driven from what I was doing. This leads right into the second, which is, the quality dropped. On the reader’s end, coming back EVERY day is a chore. Maybe not so much if it were quality. I mean, we all have the sites we go read everyday, but generally they have multiple writers, with choices of articles, most of which we skim. When it’s one person, unless it’s just a curation of other stuff, it’s next to impossible to churn out good stuff every day.
(unless your our friend over at blogging is a responsibility, but he’s a savant-level, gifted arsehole who doesn’t even want to be a writer. we’re insanely envious and hate his guts.)
What Did We Learn?
I learned what I already knew, this marathon writing, is NOT for me. I have known it since college. I remembered it every time I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo. And last month clinched it for me. Some arbitrary boot camp push to write doesn’t work.
At the same time, being completely open and free to do whatever, whenever, will get me shit all. I’ll say I’m going to [fill in the blank] and I’ll promptly set up my schedule, folders and sub folders in my writing app, write a page or two of notes, and then watch reruns of Deep Space Nine or play through Zelda Breath of the Wild, again.
I need a deadline, a necessitating drive of some kind, to get something done. The only thing that works in these marathon writing challenges is the writing everyday. Actually sitting down and working on something. Even on the tough days. Honestly, the tough days were the best. Not at first, but later, yes. It’s like exercise. It sucks ass doing it, but when it’s over, particularly on the days when you want to do ANYTHING but, it feels so good. With writing there’s the added benefit that you have something tangible.
(you get in shape from exercise.)
Yeah, eventually. But right from the get go, when you write there are the words on the page at the end of the day. The benefits of working out don’t necessarily show for a long time.
If I’m smart, this is what I’m going to do. Write every day. That is, I’m going to sit down every day, set a timer, and write. My “gotta do” is a set amount of time every single day. This is opposed to stressing about getting “x” number of posts published in “x” amount of time, or stressing about getting “x” number of words written. I’m choosing this, because again, like exercise, if I set an easy to obtain goal, I am more likely to stick with it, and eventually do more than what I set out. I mean, that’s how I’m doing 200 crunches and 200 squats Mon. Wed. and Fri. as well as 100 push ups Tue. Thurs. Sat.
I know that if I’m writing regularly, I’ll post regularly, which is what one needs to do in order to build an audience. And the posts fingers crossed will be better because I’ll take the time to get them right. Or at least they’ll be better than the rushed, everyday, kind.
And I’d like to close by thanking the small new audience I’ve built up over the past month. I’ve got from something like 12 or 13 subscribers to 42(ish). Better still, I have a few readers who comment regularly, which gave me the strength to carry on when I REALLY didn’t want to.
Thank you all, so very much.
Now, enough blabity blabity, it’s time for me to get to work.