In order to re-build my writing habit, I’m going to write 20 minute blog posts.
The key to writing anything is the same as anything else – you’ve got to put in your time. For writing, that means sitting down and… well, writing. I usually write on my computer. I love writing by hand, but for this exercise, speed is your friend. You can get down more words and edit easily on your computer.
Next, I set a timer.
If you know me, you know I’m a total Time-Nazi. Strong words, I know. Self proclaimed! I can’t help it. I am strict with myself when it comes to timing. I pride myself on being on time to appointments, and I notice the same in others (or lack thereof). Setting a timer allows me to focus. It’s like doing a work out – if you know you only have a few seconds left and your muscles are burning, you try your hardest till the end.
20 minutes is not a long time. So you gotta write like a motherfucker to get as many words out as you can! This pressure is a good thing. I prefer writing for time, rather than words. I know plenty of bloggers and authors who recommend writing 1000 words every day. I’m not quite there yet. I usually only get between 300-500 when I write for 20 minutes (no judgment zone!)
Am I happy with my 20 minute pieces? Hell no! This is an ART FORM. Writing anything good takes a lot of time and lots of editing! Same thing with art – painting, drawing, whatever. Do you want to show every sketch to the world? Absolutely not. The goal here is to get the creative juices flowing and start getting a feel for your writing strengths and weaknesses. And simply to build material.
For my old blog, I used to write every morning for 20 minutes. I would collect all of my writing, maybe at the end of the week, and edit it. I ended up cutting most of what I had out. Then I would re-write parts and try to string them together.
Sounds like college, right? A well written piece is about eloquently making a point. It’s about connecting ideas and illustrating them beautifully and clearly so that your reader knows what you’re trying to say (and maybe even learns something).
In my personal opinion, it’s better to have a short excellently written piece than a longer flowery-worded mediocre piece. Time is limited my friends! It’s seriously our only real resource. Time is on your side because you get to choose how you spend it.
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? ― Mary Oliver
All of this to say that this may be the only way to get me to start up another blog. I am feeling drawn to writing, the practice, the process itself. I realize more and more everyday that my art career depends on it. I would like to be able to write articulately about my paintings and my process.
Both the beauty and sometime pitfalls of artwork is that it is so subjective. A painting is interpreted in as many ways as people who view it. I’ve read that titles of paintings can deter collectors from buying and turned off viewers. However, I think the stories behind paintings are important. In the same way that the editing process behind writing is.
So, to review – if you’re interested in writing and you simply can’t get yourself to start, try this:
- Come up with some stupid or silly or fun blog name.
- For 20 days write a 20 minute blog post. With or without editing!
- That’s right! Now that we’ve reviewed the rules for really awesome writing (write like a motherfucker and then edit with help like a boss) – we’re going to BREAK the rules.
- Have fun! Just write a stream of consciousness if you aren’t inspired on a particular topic. Trust me, you will never write a word if you set requirements for yourself before hand. I am victim of this everyday.
- I almost forgot the most important part. DRINK COFFEE! LOTS OF COFFEE. ❤
Now that I’ve written for 20 minutes, I’m going to pat myself on the back and move onto drawing. As the days move on, I’d like to write some about what inspires me to paint and the direction that I would like my work to go. Until then, happy writing.
P.S. This blog post is 754 words long. I did some editing after my 20 minutes.