(photo credit: Norwich Street Art: Why do you do this? by markheybo on flickr.com.https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode.)
New writing class tonight.
Instructor gives us ten minutes to write an essay that could be submitted to a writing blog. It had to be about either an issue we have with our writing or a revelation we’ve had. After the ten minutes, each of us would have to read our essay to the group and listen as they gave feedback.
The instructor set the timer.
No ideas. Lots of ideas. Have to write. No time to decide. Start writing.
The first thing that I wrote was . . . never mind. I didn’t write about it because I’m sure it did not make sense. I crossed it out. The second thing that I wrote was “how writing a daily blog has changed me as a writer.” From there, I wrote and wrote and wrote, many more pages than anybody else in the class had when the alarm bell rang. Pencils down.
After I read my essay and received some feedback, one of the people in the class said that they kept waiting for me to say that I stopped writing the blog. That I gave up. There was a moment in the piece that I mention my desire to stop, to give up, but I explain what kept me going. Then another person said that they would have given up. They wondered what it was that drove me to keep going. One person even said that she thought blogs were dead and even if they weren’t what I was doing wasn’t really a blog. It was a diary and it should be private. (I won’t go into it here and I didn’t elaborate then, but I did respectfully disagree with her, and truth be told, I kind of wish I told her to go to hell after she insulted my 200+ days of hard work in one snide, misinformed public remark.)
So what did drive me to keep going? Was it the commitment? The fact that I made the commitment public. I like the stress of having to come up with an idea every single day?
I had answers, but I didn’t have a good one. Not then. But now I do.
It’s kind of obvious. I wish I’d thought of it then.
The 10 minute assignment provided the answer. In the past, I would have panicked and not recovered. I would have produced something, but I am certain it would not have a distinguishable form and function. However, today, after I panicked about my inability to think straight and come up with a clear idea, I moved on pretty quickly. The work had to be done so I did it.
I credit 205 days of writing for others, and attempting to be at least somewhat interesting, with making it possible for me to write the essay I wrote for class. It was by no means submission-ready, but it had a beginning, middle and promise of an end, and the class found the subject one they would like to read about in a writing blog.
I think I may have just found the essay’s ending.
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