I love to write.
I do it for a living, assisting WordPress.com users, creating and updating support documentation, and communicating with colleagues. At a distributed company such as Automattic, there are few in-person/voice conversations. The majority of interaction among colleagues and between staff and our users is through written communication. Outside of work, I write fiction for fun and am an occasional blogger. For the month of April I signed up to do Camp NaNoWriMo and my colleague’s blogging challenge, so I have been writing quite a bit more than my norm, seven days a week.
Like I said, I love to write, so it’s great to have so many opportunities to do so. However, even for someone who does so much of it, it doesn’t ever get easy. And tonight, I really didn’t feel like writing a blog post, and had absolutely no ideas for what to write about.
Each time I make a conscious decision to write something, I have to think about audience, tone, purpose, length… whether it’s a quick post on an internal company blog or the next chapter of my NaNoWriMo novel.
For work-related writing, it’s usually not too difficult unless I’m trying to describe a new process or assist someone with a complex problem.
It’s significantly harder to write the optional, creative projects. Often, like tonight, coming up with ideas is the challenging point. It’s tough coming up with something new to say every day. At least for my novel, after doing NaNoWriMo once, I’ve learned some tricks, so it’s not as difficult this time, because I just pick a character more or less at random and start writing, and see what happens. It’s also easier with the novel since I know that it’s a rough draft and if it’s terrible, I can delete it and no one will be the wiser. That’s harder to do with a blog.
Still, I’m stubborn, so I keep going. I want to prove to my friends and colleagues, but most of all myself, that I can complete the challenges. So each evening, no matter how I feel, I sit down and write. Usually I write a blog post first and then work on my novel until bedtime.
As I do so—as I put words together over and over, every day, without skipping a day for any reason, even when I went to the ER—I find both blogging and my creative writing project are improving. The act of starting a new post/chapter/character sketch isn’t as hard as it used to be, and because I’m not holding myself to the same strict standards I used to, I’m achieving more, and that feels good. And just knowing I’ve made it another day into the month without failing is an achievement in itself.
I know there are a lot of bloggers out there who really want to write more often, and like me, they discover it’s a significant challenge. I suspect a lot of them give up, much like I gave up trying to learn how to knit, because I just didn’t have the patience or a strong enough desire to master it.
If you’re like me, and enjoy writing but find it difficult, you’re not alone. However, if you can stick with it, and try to create something every day, you’ll be better for it. And maybe one day you’ll find that writing is easy.
I’m still waiting for that day to come, but I’m sure it’s just around the corner!