Since the start of July, I’ve not been writing after the kids go off to sleep, and it feels both natural and unnatural.
Natural because before this year, I never had that discipline, so the ‘me’ right now is also the ‘me’ pre-2020.
Unnatural because, since the year 2020 started, I wrote non-stop every night, five nights a week.
Right up to the start of July that is.
All in pursuit of a goal to complete the first rough draft of a book-length memoir of approximately 300 pages (about 100,000 words).
By God’s grace, I did achieve it by end June. That shitty first draft I mean. But not, I suspect, without some loss of weight and blood in the process!
Blogging’s sharpened my writing, but…
Blogging has been an important habit that’s kept my “ink flowing” a lot more this year, and it’s prevented me from having any writing atrophy.
Since early 2020, I started posting up to 2 blogs here every week. And, when the occasional inspiration comes-a-knockin’, even three or four times a week!
So yah, I’ve continued to stretch my writing muscles more this year than I ever have.
But recently, as I reviewed learning materials from one blogging coach and then another, I realise that I am still so very very far from honing my skills well!
You see, one shared that he’s ever done a long stretch of non-stop writing that made me gag just hearing him describe it! There was one year this writing coach wrote 500 words every morning for 30 minutes and in doing so produce 365 essays! And that’s on top of at least 100 guest posts he wrote that same year, as well as other stuff he banged out on his keyboard.
Another coach talked about writing 1,000 words a day. And she did it all in one hour! The first 30 minutes was to create, the remaining 30 minutes to edit. Good grief! It takes me at least twice as long to do either – on a good day!!
I also read somewhere that famous writer Grahame Greene, who wrote such acclaimed books as The Quiet American, wrote 500 words a day and, at that pace, apparently churned out a novel a year!
Bottomline: Write consistently. No exceptions.
So what sage examples are these writing Goliaths leaving little old me? Just these:
1. Excuses are not allowed.
2. I can’t make up any good reasons for not writing. Ever!
Oh but wait a minute. C’mon! I’m no different from the next bloke. I need rest too.
After all, I’m no AI or algorithm. Those bots that work 25/7 with no vacation or time out (except for scheduled maintenance?). As Philip Oakey once belted out: “I’m only human; of flesh and blood I’m made.”
But at some point, I gotta keep going. Just like these writing Goliaths. Cos everything that I’ve been reading, studying and listening to has one common thread all the way through:
To get better at just about anything, especially writing, you gotta keep at it consistently, no exceptions.
I gotta push myself to produce every day because that’s the only thing that’s going to set me apart from people who just talk about wanting to be a writer, but who neither put in the time nor the effort to churn out copy…
…Every. Single. Day.
Maybe there will be days when I’ll write an inspiring, Pulitzer-prize winning essay (I said maybe).
Or, more likely, there will be days when I just wanna curl up on the sofa and watch re-runs of The Good Fight.
Yet the thing is, if no one’s going to read everything I write anyway (unless I post every single time like some pubescent Gen Z kid), what’s the harm to write every day?
Even if I produce nothing but crap over the span of 365 days!
Not what I want of course.
Besides, it’s highly unlikely. Surely out of 365 days, there’ll be at least 65 where the essays are worthy of public viewing no?
Or maybe read aloud to a pet goldfish?
So okay let’s see if I can write consistently again.
But let me do that tomorrow alrighty?