The writing process is just a stream of thought that I lock into for long enough to pour out a hundred words or so.Gemm 2019
On a good day the words just flow, I don’t have to try and I don’t have to sit and hope that something interesting comes to mind.
But on other days it’s a little more challenging.
It feels like there is a blockage or resistance, the words come to me with much less ease. It’s not about self-expression or inspiration, it’s about getting it done.
I’ve taught myself to write on both days. It’s become less about good and bad writing days (and potentially giving in to writers block), instead it’s about accepting that some writing days will be easier than others.
Looking through drafts is a great way to observe your growth as a writer. Many time you come across things your current self would never write and so you press delete. Other times you come across good ideas that are poorly written out and you then have the option to just delete them and start over or to tend to them with a fresh perspective.
I believe that most writers drafts or deleted content far outweighs what they’re shared and put out into the world.
It’s quite obvious that the things that get deleted aren’t considered worth sharing. Perhaps, it had been in your drafts for a few months or even years but every time you went back to it, you didn’t really like it enough to work on it a little more and complete it. Maybe it just wasn’t a good idea, it happens and it’s perfectly okay.
Then, there are the drafts.
There are days when you write, write and write some more. This results in an influx of ideas and some of these ideas are ‘microwavable’ whilst others are more like seeds.
The ‘microwave’ ideas don’t take much time to be brought to life. They’re not necessarily instant but if you set a little time to work on them you can finish them fairly easily. They don’t stay drafts for long.
Then there are the ideas that are like seedlings, these ones require time, care and attention. They can’t be rushed and if if you ever try to hurry them along, you’ll never be happy with the result. But if you’re willing to have patience these ideas will flourish when they finally come alive in all their glory.
I recently realised that I enjoy writing about current events.
One of my most read posts is about Instagram guides, I think I published it a day after guides became available to everyone, it was a hot topic.
If I’d written the post a few days or even weeks later it would have no longer been relevant. Of course the post can be read at any time but it was written for a particular moment in time.
Yesterday, I published a post about Clubhouse. I first drafted the post over 2 months ago and at the time it was over 1500 words, significantly longer than what I would usually post. For various it took a while to make time to edit the post to something I was happy to share.
But, what I noticed was that each time I went through the post, things had changed. Things like the number of users and the other apps that had added an audio feature. I regret not publishing the post sooner as with any hot topic, sooner is always better than later.
I think it’s fair to say that Clubhouse is still very relevant and will continue to be for the months to come. However, the post I published yesterday is very much of the time. That’s the issue you face when writing about hot topics, they don’t always last.
In contrast, the posts I’ve written that focus more around life lessons, career and self-help are what I would consider evergreen. They will be just as relevant today as they will be 12 months from now.
Thats how long it took me to read through one of last weeks blog posts.
For quite some time now I’ve been thinking of creating audio versions of my blog posts. There are various reasons I have resisted, from not having any equipment to wondering whether I’m taking on too much (I’ve written over 800 blog posts). However, one of the biggest reasons is that I think they would be too short.
We’re in the season of audio content and even though there are people that listen to short podcasts, I can’t help but wonder if under 5 minutes would put people off. Of course, one may argue that my work isn’t for the people that would be put off. However, when you’re just starting out you want to know that there is a market for what you have to offer.
A solution I’d considered was to have a weeks worth of posts per episode almost like a sort of story but I wasn’t sold on the idea enough to proceed with it.
I’m still in limbo with whether or not this podcast idea will come to life and even what the format will be. But I do think that now is the perfect time to be experimenting with audio content, even if it ends up being temporary.
I’ve always held writing to a high esteem, to such a high esteem that I always considered it to be out of my reach.
It’s undeniable that in the 9+ years I’ve been sharing my writing online, I’ve improved quite a lot. Yet, I always told myself that I could never be a proper writer.
But over the past year or after reading articles online, I’ve thought to myself, I could write something like that or even that’s similar to something I’ve already written. Suddenly writing no longer feels so out of reach.
And it’s not that I now plan to quite my job and become a writer, I think it’s more than fair to say I already am one.
Last year there were lots of discussions, tweets and conversations about how we’re in a pandemic, you don’t need to do xyz it’s totally okay if all you did was survive.
The thing is, of course you don’t need to do anything new or different with your time. That statement has always been true. But if you want to and if you feel like you can, why not choose to do something new?
And even if you don’t feel like it, even if you’re anxious and overwhelmed maybe trying 10 minutes of aerobics or a breath work exercise might actually help.
I think learning or doing something new during a period where you have more free time than usual is a great idea.
The reason for this is whether you sit around passively watching YouTube all day or try out a couple of new recipes every week, the same amount of time has still gone by.
You don’t need to force yourself to do things you don’t want to do, pick something that you will enjoy.
And you don’t need to use up all your free time, it could be 20 minutes of meditation each day or a few hours a week doing an online course.
You don’t need to post about it online and it doesn’t make you better than others because you’ve now started a successful business or have perfected the crème brûlée.
The focus should be on how you feel about the way that you’re choosing to live and the way that you’re spending your time.
As someone that has never written for a publication or written a book, I have a hard time calling myself a writer.
I’ve always thought that having my words published in a newspaper, magazine, website or a book etc. would be the validation that I need to claim the label of writer, yet they are not things I actively pursue.
I think this is because when you do something for the love of it, trying to make it anything more is scary. There is also the fear of not being good enough, of my writing not being good enough for someone else to want to share it with a wider audience.
And part of having fear and being scared has resulted in me not putting myself in a position to receive feedback.
So overtime I have come to realise that the issue is not that I can’t call myself a writer, it’s that I didn’t meet the criteria of what I thought a writer should be. But further to that I am not yet the sort of writer that I aspire to be.
My favourite thing about this blog is that I’m driven by my commitment to writing more than anything else.
If I write something that gets 1 view, I’m just glad that I committed to writing something another day.
If I write something that gets 102 views, I’m glad that a bigger number of people got to read my words. That is a bonus on top of me committing to sharing something for another day.
When I started this daily writing practice it was not only because I wanted to challenge myself and wholeheartedly commit to something new.
I’m committed to doing the work as a priority, anything that comes along with it is secondary. That mindset makes posting daily 101 times easier because I’m not focused on getting my numbers up or having the most likes, comments or views.
When you feel stuck and don’t quite know what to write, instead of shying away from it, follow it.
Start typing and just see what happens.
Don’t focus on how good or bad it is. Don’t focus on whether it’ll be worth sharing online or what people will think. Just write and then write some more.
Keep going until the words start to flow with ease. It might get easier after a few sentences or a few hundred words but keep going and just write.
When you finally decide to stop, you might find that you love what you’ve managed to write but that isn’t the goal or the purpose.
The purpose is to write through the ‘writers block’ because doing so teaches you that maybe it’s not as big of an obstacle that you think it is.
Last week, I noticed I was getting close to 300 followers, a few days ago I reached 300 followers and now I have surpassed it.
I don’t allow myself to pay too much attention to the number of followers I have on this blog. Followers doesn not equate to views, likes or comments and overall watching the numbers go up (and and in some cases down) has little benefit.
However, it’s nice to know that there are over 300 people who came across my site and thought it was worth following.
But what makes it even better is that because there are no pictures, I know that you are simply here for the words.