I haven’t blogged since December.
I knew it had been a while, but I hadn’t realised it has been so long…. And when I look at 2018, it was hardly a bumper year for my writing on the blog. That has made me sad – I get a real kick out of blogging and my fuchsiablue voice – it was hard fought for, personally, to publish and “speak” – to show myself and share in that way… why, then, would I stop?
I am writing, of course – mainly personal stuff, not formed for public consumption – raw, rough and reflective – to figure out a situation, a puzzle. To hear myself clearly.
But something is shifting.
Last year I very nearly got to that writer retreat I’ve been so-long promising myself and have been so-scared to do. Since 2012, Blogging has given me confidence – folk being really kind about what they read, about what I wrote – people recommending and complimenting…it’s been good for my soul.. so the possibility of “taking seriously” that I could write started to hold some weight. What if… what if…..?
In the end, Work kicked in and I “postponed” the retreat, telling myself it was always there, I could always do it “another time” – classic avoidance, I realise now. I could have chosen writing over Work.. I didn’t.
And slowly I’ve come to see how afraid I am of going to the retreat (now re-booked for August) – because what if… what if I’m not a writer? What if everyone is better than me? What if I fail? What if I hate it? The simple act of application means I’ve asked myself to start applying.
And I’ve loved my relationship with my words and the writing process….what if I arse that up? What if I lose confidence? It’s so comfortable and cosy where I am….
But there has been a wee whisper…A little voice going: What More?
What I’m realising is I’m “naturally” (whatever that means) able to articulate stuff – for myself, for others… but that doesn’t mean I’m a writer – I have no craft, little practice beyond the drills I’m so familiar with. I haven’t tried to stretch myself, particularly. I have this voice, which I worked hard to find and share..and I stopped challenging myself shortly after locating it. I didn’t push myself or try much different. I found a thing. It was more-than-enough that I blogged. That in itself was beyond anything my 20-something self could ever have imagined.
I stuck with that…. which means I might be stuck with that.
It’s a slow process, with me. I lack discipline a lot around my writing, if I’m honest. I put my energy into work and life.. and writing is there, quietly waiting when I need to understand a thing or hear a thing – like the most patient and wise friend – but it’s not something I’m terribly… serious about.. I’ve taken for granted that I can pick up a pen or open a new Word Doc and just fill up the page with stuff – that I can access my head and my heart without vast amounts of anguish – that for years I’ve been doing just that and actually, I’m fairly well practiced at it now.
And that’s becoming unsatisfying.
Today I’m going to my darling friend Anne-Marie Garner’s book launch. She has been writing Knot, Albert stories for her children (my gorgeous Godson & his beautiful little sister) since they were tiny. She has put in monumental effort to craft those stories, get them published, get merchandise and websites – I have watched her with awe and pride…and a little pang of envy.
She, who says she isn’t a writer, absolutely is and has.
I, who would claim affiliation with writing, absolutely haven’t.
Yeh… I’ve got to face into my own nonsense on this one.
So… I’m off to a writer retreat in August. No excuses. Nothing short of natural disaster will prevent it. I’m utterly, white-knuckle terrified.. and that’s OK.
In the run in to August, I’ve reconnected with Natalie Goldberg’s work. Her wild-mind writing techniques are familiar in my work on the Facilitation Shindig and with coaching clients. This time round working with her thinking, I’m paying more attention to her craft, trying to write in different voices, from different angles, practicing stretching my tone, pace, broadening my vision.
And so it is with this I’m asking for a little help. If I leave myself to my own training regime, I’ll do a variation of what I believe I can do and the true stretch might not happen. So I’m going to try a thing.
I’m committing to some discipline and practice – 21 days of writing.
No fewer than 600 words, no more than 1500.
I’ll publish whatever I write, no matter what I think of it – but I’m committing to write the best I can on the topic – no half measures, I might not like what I publish, but I have to have put my heart into it.
And so to you , dear reader, I’m asking for topics areas or scenarios – what would you have me write on?
I’m looking for 21 subject matters – I’ll start on Friday 10thMay, finish on Friday 31stMay. I’ll try to write daily – if I’m on a roll, I might write a couple & feed them in of different days – this is about me practicing different “drills” and trying out different subject matters or voices.
I’m going to use the #21daysofWriting hashtag – which is already partially established on Twitter.
You can tweet suggestions or DM me on Linkedin/ email me firstname.lastname@example.org
It could be a glorious disaster or great fun, hair-pullingly frustrating or cathartic – it might well be all of the above, but let’s see…