I did it! Counting this post, I’ve written at least 500 words every day in the month of January, most of them publicly. That’s over 15,000 words.
What have I learned from this experience? As I’ve talked about in some previous posts, there hasn’t really been a unifying theme in my posts. However, I’m still glad I did the challenge.
In 2016 I did a photo-a-day challenge. As you might guess, I started out with high enthusiasm that waned a bit over the course of the year. But I only missed one day.
Several days’ shots consisted of me running outside to catch something in daylight’s dying minutes, but it turns out that’s a really interesting time for lighting. In fact, I sold a print of one photo I took at that time of day. Another just-before-sunset photo is one of my favorites that I’ve ever taken. And they say Micro Four Thirds is useless at high ISOs. OK, I wouldn’t use those settings for portraits or fashion shots, but those tend to have more controlled lighting conditions anyway. For the kinds of photos I like to shoot, a little grain never hurt anyone.
A lot of the shots I took weren’t particularly good or interesting. But just knowing that I had to fulfill the challenge every day put me in more of a mindset of looking for the shot than I probably would have been otherwise. It’s been similar with this writing challenge. I kept a file full of post ideas and frequently thought about what I was going to write for a given day.
And since many of these are written in the clock’s waning minutes, I’ve had to force myself not to be too precious with my writing, just as I had to do with my photography. There’s something to be said, especially when you’re not so established, for just pumping out as much work as you can in a given area. It’s easy to get too fussy too early and use that as an excuse to avoid putting out any actual work.
As with my photography, I’ve found some unexpected gems at the last minute. I thought yesterday’s post was one of the better ones I’ve done for this challenge, and it came about from me texting back and forth to a friend about how I had no idea what I was going to write about.
So now that I’ve trained myself to sling out words every day, no matter what, after today, I’m going to take some to reflect on where I want to go with this. As much as I enjoy writing, right now I can’t give a good answer to the question of what this blog is about, and I think I need to find that answer before trying to do anything else.
The snarky part of me thinks it would be easier if I were a parent or an evangelical Christian, but then my actual life would be much more difficult. So would the lives of many other people. For the record, I don’t have a problem with anyone who finds joy in those pursuits; I just don’t count myself among them. Given the choice, I’ll take the struggle of coming up with a decent blog niche.
In the extremely low likelihood that any of you are worried, please don’t be. I’ll be back. I enjoy writing too much, and specifically the kind of writing I do here. It scratches an itch that the other kinds of writing I do, don’t. But I need a better angle than “middle-aged woman who used to be Southern Baptist and is now Jewish, used to sort of be a musician and is now a software developer, rambles about philosophy, photography, and soccer. And whatever the hell else she feels like talking about.”
Yes, it’s cathartic for me, but I don’t want this to be a monologue. If I just want to ramble on forever, I can do that privately. If I’m going to put more stuff on the Internet, it should be helpful to somebody in some way. If there’s something that’s helped you, I’d love to hear about it, either in the comments, or hit me up on Twitter.
I’ll see you soon.