Some Thoughts on Writing…Maybe They Can Be Transferred to Blogging?
I just finished Donald Miller’s Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance. I know, I know…I blogged about it a couple of weeks ago! I should have finished it way before now, but I didn’t. So sue me!
Anyway, at the end, in the “acknowledgements” section, he talks about some guy who challenged him to “write a page a day.” I Googled for “one page a day,” which led me to Roberta Jean Bryant’s Anybody Can Write.
She talks about starting and using a journal to hone your skills for writing. She challenges to write a page a day. At the end of the article, she says…
“Write honestly. Risk nakedness. Originality equals vulnerability.
I like what Jessamyn West says about being a writer: “To be a writer, you have to first stick your neck out and take a chance and then be willing to make a fool of yourself and give yourself away.” A journal provides a safe place to practice doing just that.
A journal is a place to detail all the little happinesses and document all the large delights of your unique life. A place to have fun. And a place for magic. Magic happens when one engages in regular and long-term involvement with oneself in words on paper. Journals need not be grim or boring. Expressing the joys of your life, appreciating what’s good today, playing with ideas – all are potentially magical.”
I think she could be talking about bloggers, except bloggers kind of hope people will find their blogs. I guess, don’t you?
Imagine the potential (but probably not the reality!) of millions of people – some you know, some you don’t know; some close by, some halfway ’round the world – reading the stuff you thought was important enough to throw up there. You do have to stick your neck out a bit and make a fool of yourself.
I used to enjoy writing, just for the sake of writing. I never had any grand illusions (or is that delusions?) that I was any good at it. I just knew I enjoyed it. I remember writing a silly little poem called “The Turkey from Albuquerque” when I was in about the second grade. I don’t have any clue now what the New Mexican turkey did. I just remember writing it.
I remember “publishing” the “Odd Sane Dog,” a pencil-driven newsletter for third-graders.
I remember in the seventh grade, getting published for the first time! The SBC Youth A Sunday School quarterly published my poem “Behold the Man.” Woo hoo! Big stuff!
I remember writing a screenplay – of sorts, based on George Orwell’s 1984 for a video project in my senior year in high school. (Oh, did I mention I acted in the film, too? Yeah, cool!)
I remember finding the two errors in the college-writing exemption test. As I took it. The summer before my freshman year.
I remember getting the job as the assistant news editor at my college paper. I remember the first time my byline appeared. I even got a check for that bit of writing.
I remember sitting in the shoe store in the mall, on slow days, writing about “Christopher Michael Sinclair” in my version of the next “Great American Novel.” Uh huh, right.
To write truly is to stick your neck out, to risk being laughed at, humiliated, or worse, ignored. To blog is, in my mind, much the same thing. What starts out as being “cool,” or “the thing to do,” ends up lighting the fire, or stoking the embers, whichever is the case.
I’m going to commit to “a page a day.” Here and/or in the ol’ Moleskine. We’ll see what happens…