Big thanks to this month's awesome hosts L.G. Keltner, Denise Covey, Sheri Larsen, J.Q. Rose, Chemist Ken, and Michelle Wallace!
A little while ago (read: New Year's) I set a goal for myself. It's a rather lofty goal and while I've only been doing it for a few days I'm already thinking it's the right call. In spite of all the unexpected interruptions that will undoubtedly make it challenging I'm thinking it's just the fire I needed to get cooking again. Here's the goal: write everyday for a year. 366 days (because of course I had to do this thing on a leap year!), 366 posts on this blog. That's it.
I didn't set any other limitations on it than that. Obviously, I'm hoping this will inspire a lot of fiction. That's the whole point of the exercise. But 366 is a lot and I'm not expecting myself to be a writing machine. So there's gonna be a lot of non-fiction, too. Memoir-style entries, book reviews, blog hops (like this one), thoughts about this crazy, life-altering yoga journey I'm on and a whole lot of other random and not easily categorized things. No rules, no limitations, just writing.
And I have to say, it's going pretty well so far. I've been pulling ideas out of these writing exercise books by Brian Kiteley. The 3am Epiphany and the 4am Breakthrough. They're gold mines for weird, introspective, deep, silly, intellectual and insanely creative prompts and there's a lot of knowledge about the art form in the pages. It's getting the creative juices flowing and getting my fingers typing and after such a long time without that this has been a big buoy to me.
But, credit where credit is due: I am the one writing. And I'd like to think that maybe one of the most fundamental lessons about writing is finally starting to sink in: you gotta write crap. Stupid, incomplete, unpolished, insane, unintelligible and just plain terrible crap. Why? Because that's the manure the good ideas grow in. That's where you plant the seeds for the brilliant bursts of life that grow and blossom and bloom into amazing works of art.
I've been hearing this a lot: creativity is like giving birth. It's painful and super messy but in the end you wind up with something awe-inspiringly beautiful that's going to grow in ways you can't yet imagine.
I've been told these things for years. I've been encouraged to give myself the gift of wild and reckless writing since as far back as I can remember- my earliest writing workshops in high school. But I never got it, I never understood how you could let your work out there when it turned out so differently than that perfect idea you had in your head. So for most of my life my inner critic ruled the nest and I edited myself so severely I nearly lost my voice altogether.
But I'm done with that. I'm saying it with confidence now- DONE. No more quieting that crazy, creative voice. No more editing to the point of having nothing left. No more judging and criticizing and scrapping my messy never-goona-win-a-pulitzer stories. I'm letting them out. Out of my head, out into the world. And it feels good.
Yes, there's still a part of me that says "oh this is terrible" every time I read through what I've written. But there's a louder, stronger part of me now that says "GOOD!" and slams down the "Publish" button with fierce, unbridled excitement. Yes, it probably is terrible. But boy if something wonderful isn't gonna come out of it.
So that's where I am today. Less insecure than I've ever been. Happy about finally writing again. Bursting with ideas and tappy-tappy-tapping away on my keyboard like a two year old with a toy piano. And all because I'm finally doing what i've been told to do for years: just write. That's all.
It's finally sinking in.