Writing 101 Challenge, Day 1

I logged onto WordPress’s blog today to read the challenge. Hey- excellent! Free writing exercise. Write whatever I want, huh? Just write for 20 minutes. Easy peasey, lemon squeezy.

Except, what about the quality of what I write? That seems awfully open-ended. I don’t know if I’ve ever sat down to write something and not known what I wanted to tell before I started writing.

OK- so this goes to the challenge I have with imperfection. This feels too chaotic. If I control things, I can make sure it’s perfect. (Yes- this is ridiculous. I know but I’m trying to capture my thought process.) Certainly the twist of publishing this sounds crazy! Reveal such random work? Impossible.

I’ve never tried this kind of- SQUIRREL!!!

OK- cheap joke. But when I read this challenge today the dog from Up was the first thing I thought of. This is what a stream-of-consciousness piece of writing might look like from my perspective.

It’s an interesting thought, though. Do I miss out on creativity because of my filtering-slash-censoring process? Do I need to push myself harder to simply write first- then worry about editing later?

Interesting- in the last 2 minutes I am remembering a point that the one and only Neil Gaiman made at his lecture in Syracuse a few weeks ago. He said that the difference between writers and non-writers is that writers are better at noticing that they have ideas- and far better at commercially exploiting them. What happens if a werewolf bites a goldfish… (That is all Neil Gaiman. I just took good notes.)

I’ve certainly started lots of stories without finishing them. Story Blue or Story Orange, anyone? (I’m not linking to these. Look way back in the “Open Notebook” if you like. No worries- they are not complete. You’re not missing anything.) The ideas interest me. But I write a few pages, write a few more pages of notes… and get stuck. I start getting afraid of writing something that is NOT GOOD. Catastrophe.

I don’t know how much stock you should place in my words. I’m working on my baggage. I am- earnestly- trying. Trying to stomp out this fear that has stopped me from writing for so long. A fear that I could never survive trying and being bad at something so important to me.

Ridiculous. It was just yesterday that I was telling the Noodle that he had to let himself be bad at something in order to become good at it. Try, suck, try harder. Repeat. Repeat again. So why won’t I cut myself the same slack I offered my seven year old? The opportunity to try- regardless of the outcome?

Maybe because I’ve always been comfortable with the whole “do as I say, not as I do” school of parenting. And putting those words to paper (screen, whatever) illustrates what a silly concept that is.

Well, that’s my time. Day one- in the bag. I’m embracing the twist (hence you reading this). What will tomorrow’s challenge bring? Only one way to find out.

I’ll write it.

You read it.

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