……. to explain, to show, to tell, to persuade, to prove, to challenge, to provoke, to share, to get noticed, to explore, to examine, to reflect, to surprise, to express yourself …….
“A word after a word after a word is power.”
I’ve been doing the #29daysofwriting challenge on the micro blogging site Staffrm, along with lots of other people. (Do go and have a look at some of the stories, if you haven’t already.) The challenge does what it says on the tin. You blog every day for the 29 days of February (and at the end of the 29 days, apparently you get a Staffrm mug – woo hoo!). Yesterday was the midpoint. It felt good to get halfway there; to know that I stuck with it and I disciplined myself to write every day for 14 days, and that I can easily do the same thing for another 15 days. I’d imagine the other people doing the challenge feel pretty much the same. There is a lot to be said for having a target and a deadline, to make you do your writing practice. It pushes you to dredge up an inspiration each day, to figure out the right form and structure, to write the blog, and to add an image. It’s like going to the gym; but for writing. I decided on the first day to write my 29 blogs as reviews of children’s books. It has been a fun way to push myself to read a few new books off my kids’ shelves, and to remember and write about a few that I have enjoyed already.
I read a lot of blogs – some that I adore, and others, well, not so much. When I read a blog, I find it interesting to consider what the motivation of the writer might be, for writing about this subject, or for writing in this way. There are all kinds of reasons why someone might write, and I suspect that often the motivation is more complex than it might on the surface appear. The Staffrm challenge is an interesting motivation, because it is basically about writing as a discipline. It is about writing as something that you do every day, because you said that you would. I love that sense of discipline – it is the essential ingredient in being a working writer. You see, ‘being a writer’ is not actually about being able to perform magic with words (although it obviously helps if you can). No, ‘being a writer’ it is about turning up each day and actually getting the words down. For me personally, my motivation to write is as much about stilling the incessant voice in my head, as it is about anything else. Or as Flannery O’Connor so succinctly put it:
“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”