No Lessons From Not Writing 750 Words a Day for 365 Days (and Why I Won’t Be Writing About You Either)
I find it quite ironic that my first attempt at beginning to write 750 words a day begun shortly after reading Ben Nesvig’s piece “10 Lessons From Writing 750 Words a Day for 365 Days”. Though I wouldn’t say that it sparked my (hopefully) forthcoming “writing adventure”, it was nonetheless interesting to absorb the thoughts of someone who had undertaken such an endeavour for a whole year. Personally, I think those lessons he has collected are worth a few reflections. Though my reflections are of a different angle, an angle of friendly criticism in order to better create a “writing dogma” for myself as a I too attempt this written journey.
What I mean by this is many-folded, but the Reader’s Digest version of the following goes something like this: I will try as hard as humanly possible to not ever address the reader (you) in any way, since in this particular context I simply don’t believe in doing that. Endless blog posts, articles and essays out there point fingers at the mighty reader, the “you out there”, that person who needs to be informed, enlightened, amused, provoked or infuriated. But not me. Not these writings. Not in a million years.
And here’s why (told through shamelessly abusing Nesvig’s lessons).
1. I don’t judge what I publish, I just publish
I find Nesvig’s logic about not judging his work as an effort to avoid becoming a “psychotic egomaniac” funny. I find any such attempt in any situation favorable. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to avoid that? Being Narcissus on a cocktail of ‘roids and crystal meth just doesn’t sound that super awesome to me. But still, I don’t want to judge what I write, even how hard it might (and could) be to restrain myself from doing so.
Frankly, I just want to write about whatever is in my head, regardless of what it might be, without worrying about a reader’s opinion, whether my blog gets on Hacker News or if it’s popular or not. I just want to do something I’ve been wanting to do for many years; just write whatever my mind commands my fingers to produce. As simple as that. If that makes me a psychotic egomaniac then wow, much special doge.
2. I both know and don’t know why I’m writing, and that’s a good thing
Trust me, I’m a fan of Simon Sinek and all that “starting with why”-stuff as a creator, but I’m also a believer of opposites. Backsides of medals and all that jazz. I don’t believe that I should always have a reason or a why for doing something. I believe that I can do something for no reason at all AND for a reason, at the same time and not. But I also believe in honesty, and the honest thing to say is that I do have a reason for writing. A reason I find simple enough to commit to: I have thoughts, these thoughts want to get out, I help them to do so. Nothing more, nothing less.
My intentions are not to train a writing muscle, publish books or articles, to get discovered or to do anything for anyone. The consequences of my writings might prove otherwise. I might never know, but what I do know is my reason for writing.
3. Planning helps, but not planning helps me just as much
I find this to be one of the greater ironies, because it leads me to question the very foundation of this concept. Write (at least) 750 words every day? Why? Why 750 and not whatever I want? Why every day and not whenever I feel the need for writing? This is one of the main reasons why I find rules, frames, boxes, frameworks, bureaucracies even to be so amazing and ridiculous at the same time.
I have experienced quotes no more than a few words explaining much more than the heaviest of academic articles and the very opposite to be true to me aswell. I could write a million words or write just two and feel equally satisfied or disatisfied.
This leads me to write about what makes it possible for me to write; my mind is an automagically self-replenishing well of thoughts that can be emptied, but never completely drained. Well that’s a lie, it will when I die, obviously, but I’ll let that one slip for now. My point is that I go against the notion of writing every day, since I want to write whenever my well is close to overflowing. Whenever I feel the urge to empty it to keep my sanity.
4. There might be good and bad first drafts, but I don’t really care
"Publish worthy". That’s… that’s heavy stuff. As if there is some special person out there that only wants to read written words if they have been prepared. Well-seasoned and correctly spiced. Polished and maybe even filtered? Luckily, I’m a lousy chef and everything I’m going to write in this particular context is worthy of publish. Because the only person I’m publishing to is myself. And I’m not that picky. I find most mistakes and errors cute. Things to be embraced as much as to be destroyed. The same goes with distractions.
5. I love distractions and hate them just as much
Avoiding distractions have never really boosted my “thoughts to words”-proces as much as numerous productivity techniques and articles have preached to me that it would. In some situations it helps me to shut out the outside world, but in just as many situations it helps me to go on those almost never-ending, serendipitous journeys conversations with a friend or the Interwebz offer; solitude and crowdiness equally fill my before-mentioned well of thoughts.
And I love that.
All in all, I have begun an adventure. Treaded the first steps of a path that I’ve longed to tread for a long time and I’m very excited about that. Especially now that I’ve gotten my intentions out in the open. And it doesn’t make me feel vulnerable at all. Quite the contrary, in fact. It feels invigorating, empowering even. Like the badge of a superhero.
And while some might argue that good writing is mostly good editing, my writing won’t be. It will just be writing. Abathur once said: “Never perfect. Perfection goal that changes. Never stops moving. Can chase, cannot catch.” I believe the same goes for words such as “good”, “great” and so forth. To me they are simply subjective labels that narrow and expand endlessly from person to person. Therefore I don’t seek good writing nor good editing. I just seek to use my body as a vessel for my mind to transport my thoughts from my well to my fingers and onto this medium of my online journal.
Ah, I feel much better already. Next time, I might even write why I believe that my succes in life is as fleeting as perfection and why I don’t have to work 40 hours a week to feel happy. Or maybe I’ll just write about my death anxiety. One or two.