Experiment: Becoming a Writer in 21 Days. {1 of 21}

Posted on Dec 1, 2011
un-writing in the south of France

un-writing in the south of France, near St. Tropez

I’ve done it before.

So certainly I can do it again.

“It”, in this case refers to the challenge of doing something for 21 days in a row, without exception, to help form a new habit. The habit I’m aiming to form is the belief that I am, indeed, a writer. And I intend to teach myself this habit through daily writing. At least 500 words.

But just because I’ve managed to consistently birth 500 words a day for 21 consecutive days, (yes, it must be consecutive!) that doesn’t mean I have any less anxiety or doubt this time ’round. I know, I know, I should be comforted by my past success. But this time I’m putting the writing out there for all the world to see, which is, I must admit, rather alarming.

How do people just casually go ahead and start blogging away? Jeez I just can’t seem to love that word, ‘blog.‘ Do other bloggers online writers or potential online writers go through this same squirming process? Perhaps they do not consider that once something is written and shared online, the chances of retracting it are slim to none. When we write, post, share or like, we’re creating a permanent bread-crumb trail of our lives. It’s a little creepy, really…

But what to do when compelled beyond reason to just write? Well, if I keep my old promise of expressing my own Truth (more on that another time), the answer is pretty clear: secretly write stuff then hide it away amid boxes where no one will ever find it. No?

I’ll try again. The answer is: write. And I think it goes without saying that as much as we writers try to trick ourselves into thinking this whole process of letting the words flow is a solitary act—a private process meant simply to ‘get it out of our heads’ so we’re no longer tortured by what we believe to be clever sentences—the truth of it is that writing is not for the writer alone.

Sure, there’s journaling or therapeutic writing… There’s writing letters to people you’re pissed off at and then burning the letter before it makes it to the post. But that’s not the writing I’m writing about writing about. (Actually, that sentence does make sense; it’s just happens to be delightfully awkward. Read it slowly.)

Therefore, my friends, it must then be said that if one is compelled to write, then one must be prepared to share said writing.

It just so happens to make me want to puke. But I’m sure I’ll get over that eventually. This puking sensation, it’s a good sign, right? It means I’m stepping out of my comfort zone – and isn’t that the key to growth and eternal-wonderful-sparkling-magic-rainbow-unicorn-happily-ever-after-ness? (Not that I believe in magic; unicorns, yes, but magic? Come on.)

Now where were we? Ah, yes, on writing, then sharing…

I have managed to console my wobbly inner writer by reassuring her that this whole ‘write it & post it’ thing is only an experiment. You see, by calling it such, the pressure of generating any specific or worthwhile outcome is diminished. Experiments are about process and exploration. Experiments are permitted to be raw and messy (as I suspect this writing to be). It’s okay for the process to be an emotional rollercoaster and it’s virtually expected that one will experience countless horrible failures along the way – which sounds perfect to me.

There we have it then – I hereby commit to writing at least 500 words every single day, for 21 consecutive days, here on this blog. My only goal is to get through the 21 days. I don’t know what the hell will happen after that. Oh, and if I miss a day, I have to reset the clock and start back at zero.

The whole point of this 21-day exercise is to convince my inner writer that yes, she can write (notice I’m not even pushing for good writing…any writing will do). Hopefully some kind of new neuron pathways or something will develop in my brain and I won’t correct people who ask, “If you write down words (often and get paid for it), doesn’t that make you a writer?”

I wonder how many of us are out there who write down words (often) but yet cannot muster the words, “I am a writer.” And how many more un-writers are out there who have blog posts but refuse to hit the publish button (like I did with this blog)? Seriously, it became a joke among my family that I had a secret blog! Enough already, right?

So, here we go… Cat’s out of the bag. God help me.


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1 Comment

  1. Allan/Elaine
    September 6, 2012

    These are the thoughts and feelings of a pretty great person. Those of us out here who love you have no problem with being a friendly ear to your facts and foibles.
    Search inside and be assurred thaat you’re a really nice person, and whatever you have to share with us is worthwhile.
    You have nothing to fear.
    Worst case senario? We may disagree, as is our right. Doesn’t mean you’re wrong, just means we see things differently.
    Those who would ridicule or denegrate are not worth listening to because they have shown themselves to be small minded bullies who you don’t want as friends anyway.
    Turn that glorious writer free and share what you are……….