I’m dusty. After my #aprildaily burst, when I posted a ten-minute write every day during the month of April, I fell off the writing wagon. I’ve been lying on the side of the road ever since.
This week, I creaked and groaned to a standing position. I brushed the dirt off my composition book and started scratching words on the crusty pages. Since I started writing again, I’ve been fascinated by how noticeable my lack of practice is. My word choices are vague, I don’t pull thoughts together coherently, I read what I’ve written and think, “Wow, that’s pretty bad.”
But where I previously strived for perfection — I wouldn’t post anything to my blog unless I had proofed and polished and gotten every last word, every last punctuation mark, as close to perfect as my skills would allow — perfection is not my goal anymore. Progress is.
Posting a ten-minute write every day in April was liberating. With a full time job and full time family, I didn’t have time for endless editing, so every day I wrote for ten minutes, then I closed my eyes and hit Publish. My pieces weren’t perfect — far from it — but they got me writing, they got me publishing, and in practicing, I improved. My words came together more gracefully. Pressing Publish became less scary. I wrote fiction for the first time.
While I write non-stop at work, which I LOVE about my job, the writing I do is mainly communicative: helping customers with their WordPress.com sites, joking around with coworkers, and conveying information across the company via internal blogs. This week, I found myself needing to write more creative type pieces — a pitch for a conference I’m helping organize, a blurb for a WordCamp speaker application. I needed to get my mind in that imaginative place: I needed to start free-writing again.
So I did. I started ten-minute writes again this week. Most of them weren’t great, and I thank you for bearing with my brain dump yesterday. However, whereas “Wow, that’s bad” writing used to make me feel awful about myself, this week I feel awesome. I feel awesome because even if the words aren’t perfect, my creative juices are flowing again.
I’m shaking off the dust. I’m loosening up my joints. And best of all, the free writes not only helped me write two pitches that I feel good about, but I’m writing again. I don’t need to be perfect. I just want to practice — and progress.