Wow, I was really excited to see how many people read my last blog. I got 70 hits in the first day, which is more than any of the previous 9 posts I wrote three to four years ago. Thanks for taking an interest! (Though I secretly think some of you just wanted to see a larger version of that great picture of Josh and I. And to reward that curiosity, I will try to update my photo once a month.)
So what got me writing again? You might be thinking it’s all my awesome free time that I have now that I’m a stay-at-home mom and homemaker. It’s true. Sitting around watching my soaps and eating bon-bons was starting to get boring.
I had been trying to write some short fiction but that kind of lost steam. And by “write some short fiction,” I mean thinking of great one-line sentences that are so captivating they deserve a great 300 more sentences to be written after them, but not even that first sentence ever got written down on paper or my computer. I actually did put 3 ideas in my smartphone’s “notes” section, but that’s pretty much it.
For about a year my friend and pen pal Erica and I were using the same writing prompt book, “642 Things to Write About” to send each other writing challenges, but it started to feel more like a chore than a fun, creative activity, so we let that die.
But I am a Writer, and now that I am no longer a slave to AP Style and editors who don’t allow more than 1 exclamation point in a year (not kidding, that’s a rule), I should be writing! (Look how I flaunt that exclamation point. And if you’re someone I regularly text with, you probably know I use at least 3 exclamation points per conversation.)
I think I excelled at journalism because I’m not good at fiction. I like writing journalism because, literally, “I can’t make this shit up.” So writing about my own life feels more comfortable, until of course I get to some of those not-so-comfortable parts, which I also plan to start writing more about. Because writing is therapy!
I recently posted on Facebook an apology to people who have talked to me and think I’m boring, because I know that I am smarter and funnier when I’m writing than when I am speaking. Apparently I think at 70 words per minute. And I can talk way faster than that, which makes me trip over words, slur words into nonsense words (which cracks Josh up—our household favorite is “lasterday,” used when you think something happened more than a week ago but remember mid-word that it was actually yesterday), and typically run out of things to say too quickly. Then again, that very well could be the journalist in me—why say something in 400 words when you can do it in 40?
But back to the why of starting to blog again. It’s the New Year, and I had it as a kind of fuzzy resolution in mind that had been building up for a few months. Then I texted my friend Jenna to congratulate her on a blog she had written that I really liked and mentioned that I’d like to start blogging again, and asked her to ask me by the end of January if I had even started writing at all again. She texted back in amazement that she was actually using writing as her personal goal for the “10-Day Do Over Challenge,” where you spend 10 minutes for 10 days straight working on a project you’ve been putting off. She was on Day 3, where you have to tell someone what you’re doing and ask them to keep you accountable on it. That day came with a “bonus challenge” of telling a second person about your challenge, but she had decided not to do it. And yet here, providentially, I had texted her and asked her to hold me accountable for doing the very same thing. It is so cool how God puts things on our hearts sometimes, and cool to see what comes out of it when we submit and move in the way he’s leading us. Now we email each other about how we have skipped days and the 10-Day Do Over Challenge is turning into the Two-Week Do Over Challenge. But that’s OK. Life is busy, and writing takes time and thought. It can be exercised, but not forced.
So, needless to say, I became Jenna’s second accountability partner, and she’s my first, and now pen pal Erica has agreed to be my second. If any of you are interested in the challenge, I recommend it. It comes with a little workbook that is really easy (unless you truly have a paralyzing fear of starting whatever it is that you’ve been putting off), and I love easy workbooks because you can do them and still feel like you accomplished something, ignoring the fact of how easy it was. Check it out here.
If you are someone who also enjoys writing, I highly recommend that you just take 10 minutes a day to do it. In my ideal world, I would do it first thing in the morning, without leaving my bedroom, drinking Earl Grey tea that Josh slid into the bedroom without talking to me (the New Carrie is not a morning person like the Old Carrie was), and I’d write for 10 to 30 minutes and then go downstairs feeling refreshed and proud that I’d already accomplished something without getting dressed. And I’d still have plenty of time later in the day to watch my soaps and eat my bon-bons.