Monday, October 31, 2011
Lifting the Curtain
I've been writing, off and on, at a site called 750words.com for a couple years now. If you don't know 750words.com, it is a means for getting three pages of writing done every day, a way to get the writer's mind going, a way to realize that writing is thinking and that thinking through writing is an elevation of what we do. It is good. Stop reading this now and go get an account on 750words.com (it's free) and start a streak today. That's part of what makes it work, the streak. My longest streak was 70 days and I'm currently on a 22-day streak. The site keeps track of this and a host of other details about the writing I have done. It's fun, it's good for me, and heretofore, it has been my private place to put words down and know that they will never be read by anyone else.
Today, I am beginning bgfay750, a blog in which I will be publishing my 750+ words each day that I write them. The idea is to take the notion of writing 750 as warm-up and push it into writing a publishable set of 750 each day. I plan to do it in the same way that I've been doing 750 all along, which is to say that I sit and write it in one 10-15 minute burst straight through with minimal editing and revision. It's an experiment for me in first draft writing with an audience. It is that audience element that is important to me here. It changes a process I have been doing since I was a child.
As a kid, I kept notebooks all the time. I didn't want to call them diaries, didn't want to let anyone see them, didn't want them to ever end. Well, they were diaries, some people saw them anyway, and they always came to an end. I moved to computers, I kept a writer's notebook, and then I went to work on 750words.com. All of it was good. It's never bad for me to write. But very little of it ever saw the light of day. I was talking mostly to myself. Again, it's not a bad thing to talk to myself, but it is a bad thing to do too much of it, to talk to myself at the expense of talking with others. I was too deep in my shell.
It's not as though I haven't tried to get out there before. I have several blogs. I "publish" prose poetry as often as I can come up with it. But the vast majority of my writing is directed inward where it is of use to me but no one else. Looking over a few of the entries I had done over the past month, I realized that there was something there for people other than just me.
And so here we are. I'm writing these words on 750words.com, but at the end I will Ctrl-A to select all of them, Ctrl-C to copy them, open a Blogger tab, and Ctrl-V to past them into a new blog post. I'll set them free into the world where, I expect, they will be largely ignored. Even that's okay. I mean, it would be great if after publishing this first entry, a few hundred people read and commented, if they then sought me out to give me money, and I started doing this as my sole occupation. But that's not really the point. The idea is to shift toward writing outward instead of inward.
I want to be present in my life, aware of what is going on so that I don't fall into my usual traps of anxiety, panic, and foolish reactions. I've used writing to try and move in a better direction, one in which I'm present and breathing rather than panicked and running. I've gotten to a point in that process where I need something more now. I need to be talking with other people. I need to see if I have anything to say to anyone other than myself. I think I do. And that's good enough reason to do this.
And so, on Halloween morning, I'm starting a new streak. I'll see if I can post 750 words each day of November and, in the process, see if I have anything at all to say to the world outside the four walls of my head. I think I do have something to say and I know that I can do this for the thirty days of November. It's simply a matter of deciding and making it happen.
Posted by Brian G. Fay