On Worthy Writing | #30in30 #WriteLikeCrazy.

The 30in30/WriteLikeCrazy challenge has proven a good workout for my writing muscles. It’s early yet – this is my sixth post in as many days – but in addition to getting words on the page, I’ve also engaged in a decent bit of self-reflection.

Prior to this, my daily decision-making was thus: “to write or not to write?” Usually the answer was “not to write.” Never short on reasons, I chose from:

  • No time
  • No topic
  • No audience
  • No confidence
  • No expertise
  • Just no

With this challenge, the game has changed. New decision points are, “what time will I write” and “what shall I say?”

As to what time, I had dreams of creating a daily writing block. 8-9 a.m., for example. But dreams fade upon waking, and reality kicks in. Although I enjoy morning writing, my schedule varies each day. Other must-dos (prayer and exercise) hold the earliest and most stable time slots, and I’m simply not willing to wake before 5 a.m.

Even though I can’t commit to a recurring time block, I can commit to the writing. I review the next day’s schedule and find 25-45 minutes. Sometimes a bit more. This is a big deal. I like to marinate, so I prefer long blocks of time to write (2-4 hours minimum). But since my focus is on volume and regularity, I try not to stress over the seedlings that require more time and attention.

As to the daily topics, well here’s where it gets interesting.

I’ve been a muted writer for years, feeling as though I had nothing to say. But I’ve been thinking a lot lately, and I’d like to enter some of these thoughts into the public discourse.

I embrace the idea of writing-as-thinking. Writing is often presented as a neat assemblage of final thoughts. Your job, in many cases, is to bring the reader along with you to a shared conclusion. But a lot of the thinking happens in the composing. And finished pieces do not necessarily equal finished thoughts. Herein lies my dilemma.

I wish to write my way through the thinking of things. And I need to post something. But I can’t post just anything. So I censor myself. I don’t write about this or that topic because my thinking is too tentative for presentation.

I don’t write the urgent thoughts I chew on all day long. It’ll take too long to make sense of certain topics, and my daily writing time is limited. But again, I have to post something, right? It’s almost as if building the habit of writing is getting in the way of the reason to write in the first place.

I’m grappling with a solution.

I’ve considered, for instance, serializing more complex thinking. I’ve done a bit of that so far, although I have yet to come back and write follow-ups to my opening statements. I’ve considered super short entries for daily posts. This can free most of my allotted time for stealth mode wherein I’d write-think ideas too messy for public consumption.

I dunno.

Is this a challenge for you? If so, how are you handling it? What writing is worthy to post?

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10 thoughts on “On Worthy Writing | #30in30 #WriteLikeCrazy.

  1. Yup, I still haven’t figured out the balance of writing for myself while having an audience. When I started my personal blog, it was private and I would post anything and everything that came to mind. When I made it public I was worried that readers would think I post too much so I limited what I posted, now I haven’t posted in a while…

  2. We sound like kin: muted writer + prefers blocks of times to think and chew. I stumbled upon the #30in30 on twitter and jumped on the bus. I think I incited a small “fiction” (is it acceptable or not) riot the other evening when I posted the opening lines to a story I’m writing (fiction appears on my blog on Sundays). I make my #30in30 quota with my daily gratitude lists I post on my blog in the mornings. Since I feel like I am cheating with this short list, I usually blog a second time later in the day. I am just grateful for words. I hoping to write more opinion non-fiction pieces at least a couple times a week during #30in30. So glad I stumbled on your blog too!

  3. Your list of reasons “not to write” each day seem quite similar to mine. I enjoy writing in a dedicated space, but the time is fleeting!

    I’ve given some thought to the pros/cons of chewing on a thought/idea all day and drafting an elegant post, then I read other blogs with short, curt, to the point postings. I realize then that as long as I’m getting my thoughts out, that’s all that matters. The length or amount of thought going into prior to writing it out won’t necessarily be known by the reader. Just get it out there!

    1. I agree with Ernise: I know it can be challenging to fit everything in, but when you write a blog, it should be both fun and engaging for you. Writing in public can be really taxing like anything else if you think too much about it. If you write a blog that’s not that long or not exactly perfect or not as challenging or fill-in-the-blank, you will join approximately 1 million other bloggers on the planet. Your voice and style are what end up making the difference between your readers and theirs. The only difference is that the people who mostly clog up the blogosphere have more confidence than talent and those of us who think more mindfully about our craft have more nervous energy than confidence.

      I’ll be sending you positive, calm energy as you figure out what works for you. Whenever I start making excuses for why I shouldn’t write, I remind myself that black people used to be banned from reading and writing & for me, it’s a slap in the face to my ancestors to sit around worrying about whether I should or should not write. The question is always, what is the best thing for me to write today or, how can I be of service with my writing at this moment and there’s always an answer to one of those two questions.

      1. My goal is to make it fun and engaging for me. I don’t have a big readership, and I’m okay with that. The key is to get the words on paper. Thanks for the kind words and positive vibes. Much appreciated!

  4. thanks everyone! it’s been interesting for only 7 days of thinking about this. :-). going from not writing much at all (except in my head), to wanting to tackle difficult pieces is kinda exciting. just have to figure out a way to actually do it. that’s my plan for the rest of the year – beyond this 30in30 challenge. exciting times.

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