This year I passed the threshold of writing down more than 100,000 words. Only a fraction of that was published here and I have been grateful with the thoughtful responses I’ve received. My goals regarding my writing practice were:
I am a scatter-brained individual. I collect ideas and string them together but I have a hard time explaining the strings. I wasn’t comfortable with publishing things when I wasn’t ‘ready’ which makes it very difficult to become a better writer.
The fear of publication is rooted in the fear of being judged. As a woman on the internet, I am keenly aware of how badly things can go. Regardless, I can’t use this an an excuse.
To get over this I took a couple of classes which relied on peer feedback systems: Second City’s satire writing online course and Gotham Writer’s online writing course. Both of them were beginner level writing courses that encouraged creative freedom to stretch myself without feeling too much pressure.
Second City taught me how to identify an opinion in my head and communicate it in the way I would in-person. It taught me how to accept feedback on my writing and that, likely, it wasn’t going to be that bad. All feedback I received was helpful and guided my future rewrites.
Gotham Writers forced me to tackle various types of writing–non-fiction and fiction. Posting them to my instructor and receiving an emotional response was something I had never experienced before. I could do any type of writing as long as I poured the same amount of effort into each.
Both classes, each six weeks long, taught me how to let go.
When I started the classes, I knew I had to practice more. I made a pact with myself to publish on this website every two weeks and write more substantial blurbs on Instagram when I could.
After the Second City class it became easier to identify topics I could write about but it never became easy. Instead of loosening the rules, I decided to put more pressure on myself and moved to a weekly publishing schedule in May. I gave myself the luxury of not dictating a topic beforehand to relieve the pressure.
While I became more used to my writing schedule, I found a writer who was offering a course online called How to Write Better. After reading his essays and becoming more familiar with his community, I bit the bullet and started learning under him.
This course led me to a list of resources which has changed the way I write dramatically. Not only have I revamped my view on grammer, I’ve developed new habits which have challenged me. I think many people say they want to write but not many will put in the work to become better writers.
I never let myself plateau. Whenever I found myself feeling sluggish, I pushed the bar further up and demanded more of myself. The more I write, the easier it becomes. I have found that three months is a good timeframe for me to introduce a new habit which I can build on top of.
Lately I’ve taken on the task of writing at least one hour per day regardless of whether or not it goes anywhere. I will continue doing this until I am ready to take on a more complex task to level up my writing.
My writing practice is completely different than what it was a year ago. All it took was a little bit of tenacity. One thing at a time.