I’ve been posting on this blog for about three weeks now. I decided to do this on a whim. Lots of writers tell you that in order to be a better writer, you need to practice your art every day. Which, or so I thought, I was already doing at work. I write, you see, for a job. I get to write quippy little headlines for food ads and tiny blurbs about a local community college.
But is this really writing? Now that I’ve been doing this for almost a month, I’ve come to the conclusion that no, it is not writing. Being a writer is more than a title. You actually have to do it.
I worked on a book for about a year. I think I’m up to 68,000 words. Now that was a great exercise in writing. Notice the past tense in that first sentence, though. I worked on a book. It was difficult for me to continue writing it because I thought I would get bored ‘working’ at home, and then I lost my thought train, my ideas dried up, and my characters fizzled away from memory.
Before that year of writing, I had pretty much stopped writing it all together. Except for school, of course, but papers don’t count. I had written the first chapter long ago sitting underneath Sombrilla at UTSA. I let it sit in my notebook, gathering dust and cobwebs, for about six months. When I started going through it again, I decided it would be a great time to pick it up and start writing once more.
Lo and behold, what’s happening now!? I’m writing again, and I’m getting in the mood to write again. I feel like I could really just sit down and finish this monster once and for all. Of course, not once and for all. It’s still a first draft, and I’ve got about 5 more rewrites before it can be called a book. So at this rate, in maybe another 45 years, I’ll have a book.
But! I do think that I’m going to start going again.
I look back on some of my old work (not the stuff on here, the stuff I have stashed away in a drawer in my nightstand and files that have been foldered on my external hard drive) and see that my skills have improved exponentially, even since I started working as a writer. But starting this blog and writing every day was like putting my skills into a time-traveling DeLorean and pushing it up to 88 mph. I’ve improved, my work has improved, and my brain has improved. Whether anyone reads these or the hits I get are just bots trying to hack into my WordPress account, I don’t care. It’s great to get my thoughts out onto ‘paper’.
If you’re a writer, a ‘writer’, or just a person who wants to be able to communicate better, then write. Write your little heart out. Write until your fingers and hands are so stiff from pain that you can’t write anymore. You’ll be a better person from it.