Some thoughts on participating in 31 Days 2013. I considered not writing this post, but decided it’s important for me that I do.
I knew the moment I read about this challenge, I had to try it. As a fledgling and hopeful writer (not blogger, writer) I knew one of the most helpful challenges for me would be to write everyday. Due to my nature, my work, and my lifestyle, I have a hard time doing anything everyday, so I knew 31 Days would be good for developing a writing routine. In fact, this is the very reason I started my blog: to create a place and purpose to write. Thirty-one Days came soon after I began the blog and I knew would be a good stepping stone.
In the end, I didn’t write and post on all of the days in October. I am disappointed that I didn’t, but pleased by how many days I did actually write- most of them! I cannot say, however, that I developed a writing routine. My lifestyle is best described as transient with nesting instincts, but I have a difficult time creating routines. Just when I get a pattern started, wup! my schedule changes and I don’t adjust right away; writing goes out the window. That said, my work schedule is becoming more regular, in that the time of day I work is more regular. I think the change back to Standard Time might also be helpful for creating a writing routine. It’s light earlier, when The Large Breed wants to go outside in the morning. I can take him on a quick jaunt, then write for a while before the rest of the world wakes and the day gets going. Though, this just applies in Brooklyn; weekends in Hudson have a completely different pattern so I’ll need to figure out something different there. Also, we’re still all-consumed with the floor project in Hudson, but just for a few more weeks, hopefully. TBM and I wonder aloud what life will be like when we’re no longer “doing floors.” One thing for sure, it will be nice. But in the meantime, in Hudson, there’s just no luxury of time to write.
Another disappointment about 31 Days: I thought I would connect with a lot of other bloggers/writers who also were participating. I tried at first, but found I just didn’t have time. That might seem like an excuse, but I really don’t know how to keep up with multiple blogs- it means spending a lot of time online, and well… I don’t spend a lot of time online. I don’t like to. I recently read a post where the blogger detailed her daily routine for readers. She spends four to six hours a day online! In addition to online time, she spends multiple hours pursuing projects and photographing. Blogging is her full-time job, and she treats it with seriousness. Lucky her, to have the ability to do so.
I know there are plenty of writers who also have full-time jobs, and I admire their dedication to their craft. It takes a lot of time to write, to write well. I admire a good writer even more than a blogger who manages to keep all “blogging balls” in the air- from posts, to reading and responding to comments; from DIY tutorials, to taking beautiful photos of their work. Because to be honest, there are a lot of beautiful blogs out there, full of great ideas, but they’re not writing blogs; the wonderful projects and ideas they feature are not matched by wonderful writing. thekitchensgarden is an absolute exception to this. I admire and enjoy this blog so much; it’s like receiving a small gift with each read.
I heard that Anthony Trollope, who had a full career with the Postal Service in the UK, wrote for three hours every morning before work. Wikipedia increased that store of knowledge today with this: “Trollope began writing on the numerous long train trips around Ireland he had to take to carry out his postal duties. Setting very firm goals about how much he would write each day, he eventually became one of the most prolific writers of all time. He wrote his earliest novels while working as a Post Office inspector, occasionally dipping into the “lost-letter” box for ideas.”
For me, the key and the takeaway is setting very firm goals about how much to write each day. I can do that. So, 31 Days may be over for another year, but through setting goals, I look forward to becoming a more disciplined and better writer. And to figuring out how to make and maintain connections with others out there who share similar writing aspirations!