I’ve been meaning for a very long time to start writing daily blog posts.
Not for the blogging part of it, but for the daily writing practice part of it, and perhaps more than that, for the part of it that forces me to let go of expecting or hoping for my writing to be “perfect.”
Committing to writing (and posting) daily means that I can’t spend hours, days, or weeks trying to make the posts perfect. Committing to writing (and posting) daily means committing to being okay with simply making the effort, and learning from it. It means committing to the process more than the result, and trusting that the process is where the treasure lies.
Case in point: I have so, so, so many thoughts on failure. I have, in fact, considered writing a book on failure. (I even have the shell outline of the book in a folder on my computer.) At the very least, for a very long time I’ve been meaning to write even just a post about failure. But, ironically enough, because I feel so passionately about it, I wanted to make sure that whatever I wrote was “perfect.” “Just right.” I’ve been waiting (subconsciously, more or less) for the moment when I knew exactly what I wanted to say and exactly how I wanted to say it.
Oddly enough, that moment has not yet come.
Last night I started reading Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull. (Tagline: “Overcoming the unseen forces that stand in the way of true inspiration,” by Ed Catmull, president of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation.) I’ve heard great things about it from very smart people, and I am always interested in reading about creativity and about inspiration.
As I am wont to do—I don’t mind spoilers—I flipped to the middle of the book just to see what was there, and started reading. The passage I found had to do with failure. I only skimmed the page, but from what I’ve heard about Pixar and its culture, I knew there would be some brilliant and insightful thoughts within.
Immediately, I thought: “I can’t write my post on failure until I’ve read this book!”
Then I heard what I’d said, really heard it. Oh, the irony.
I thought of all the reasons I haven’t written the post yet, all the reasons I haven’t started a daily writing practice yet.
I realized that I’m not practicing what I preach.
I see aspiring writers going to endless conferences and reading mountains of how-to-write books and taking years of classes, but never getting around to actually writing. I think (and if they ask, I tell them), “Stop trying to get it all figured out. Just write. You’ll learn as you go along.”
Even my personal manifesto covers this: “You don’t have to know the exact path to or location of your dream. You just have to start walking.”
That feeling so many of us have that we have to have something figured out before we move, before we act on it, goes against what I believe. But not, apparently, against what I do. So today I’m writing (and posting) this. Imperfect as it is. Aligning my beliefs with my actions.
A daily writing (and posting) practice.
I haven’t yet figured out how long my posts will be. (My brain: “Before I start, I need to go back and figure out how Seth Godin started! I need to figure out if he told everyone he’d be writing short posts!”) I like the idea of shorter posts sometimes. I have a tendency to write too much. I like the idea of practicing being concise.
I haven’t yet figured out what topics I will cover. (My brain: “I can’t just write on everything! I need to have a focus! Successful people have focus!”) Likely, I will write on any and everything.
I haven’t yet figured out how long I’ll do this. I heard a podcast with Glennon Doyle Melton in which she talked about how she thinks she’s done blogging. Everything has a season and its own time. I’m trusting myself to know when is when.
My writing won’t be perfect.
I will, on occasion, change my mind.
I will very likely re-visit some topics many times. (My brain: “You can’t write fifteen posts on one topic! People will get sick of it! Wait until you have it figured out and write one brilliant, perfect post for the ages!”) Writing is how I figure things out. Maybe some topics need fifteen posts so I can start to understand.
I am a work in progress.
For now, though:
Welcome. Let’s begin.
P.S. Did you know you can read my entire first YA sci-fi adventure book, free, online? And if you’re a parent or educator, or just someone who enjoys activities, check out the free, thought-provoking, skill-building activities at the end of every chapter! The Universes Inside the Lighthouse (and subsequent books in the series) was inspired by my love of books like A Wrinkle In Time or shows like Doctor Who. It’s my own exploration and answer to the deep and sometimes unanswerable questions: what else is out there? What if we could meet aliens from other planets? What if everything were possible? What’s more, through the power of truth-through-fiction, The Universes Inside the Lighthouse addresses issues of loneliness and compassion and gives parents and educators an opening to discuss these challenging but important issues. I love this series so much and I hope you will too! Start reading chapter one here! And feel free to spread the word!
Check out Pam’s books!
- The Universes Inside the Lighthouse—YA sci-fi adventure / first in the Balky Point Adventures
- The Wishing Rock series—women’s fiction / wit, wisdom, and recipes
- The Pam on the Map series—travelogues / wit and wanderlust