This is my forty-first blog post for this year. I have written daily since January first because of a fairly impromptu New Year’s resolution (that I made on the first day of the year). Today is Ash Wednesday, a beginning of another forty days. Since it is a time of introspection and pruning, I find myself in a rather reflective mood this afternoon. What have I learned thus far in my little self-imposed challenge?
First, I have affirmed what triggered this project initially; I enjoy writing. It is not always easy, and some days it takes me a while to grab a topic, but overall, I enjoy it. I feel like I am accomplishing something each day that is personally meaningful.
Second, I’ve learned some techniques that help me in accomplishing my five hundred words each day. I now have a folder where I can drop things that I might want to write about in future posts. Some are there as “maybe” and others are there as “someday, but it’s going to take some work to develop.” The folder helps ease those days when I don’t have anything to write about. I don’t always end up using one of those topics, but just looking through them can help get things moving. The folder also keeps me motivated since it reminds me that I haven’t written myself out yet; there is still more to write.
Third—and this one I’m just starting to figure out—I’ve discovered that it is okay to write just because I enjoy it. I don’t do this for page views or followers and I don’t have any desire to spend the time on self-promotion that it would take to increase those things. I have done that for other hobbies and it is a lot of work. I am comfortable being a “writer” without being an “author.” (Even though in many cases those are synonyms, I mean to distinguish between a person who writes and a person who is paid to write.) Maybe I have moved beyond such a tangible need for validation.
It is okay for me to write “just” as a hobby. I don’t need to nurture a dream of one day being a published author of a book. I might be some day, but chances are slim. I’m pretty esoteric (eccentric?) in a lot of ways so I know my market would be rather small.
I enjoy words. I like that they have shades of meaning. I like the challenge of trying to capture an idea and express it in these interesting little symbols. Writing helps me enjoy reading and reading helps me enjoy writing. Writing helps me think.
“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”
― Flannery O’Connor
Wrestling with ideas with a pen in my hand enables me to pin them to the page, or to sit in defeat as they vanish before being so imprisoned. I am sure the mental exercise of writing is good for me. It is a conquest to craft a sentence to say what I mean to say.
Therefore, this project shall continue. Not because I have two beautiful, devoted readers, but because I am a writer.