I have tried – really tried – to publish every day. I just have too much going on (poor me). I often have nothing to write about but it just seems like I should. I do write almost every day but publishing is another thing entirely. You should see the backlog of unpublished drafts. Sometimes I don’t publish because forced writing comes across as bitter or venomous and I just keep those to myself.
Today I want to write about writing. I was speaking with someone recently and I said, “You know how you sit and write about 5,000 words then look back over it a couple of times and still miss mistakes? Drives me bananas.”
She looked at me like I was bananas. I guess writing 5,000 words is a big deal from her perspective. I try to break up lengthy essays into multiple posts on my blog because I think it’s impolite to ask you to spend all day reading my nonsense as you flip through the pretty pictures.
I have a couple of thoughts on this and since it’s my blog I’m going to write them down…even if you don’t read this. Our pastor often uses points that start with the same letter to make it seem catchy. I failed miserably at this but tried anyway. Especially since my points are Pot, Passion, Pants, Paint and Publish. Yikes. I don’t think I’ll be preaching any time soon.
A Watched Pot Never Boils
5,000 words is not a goal. It is not a destination. It’s just a part of the going there. No big whoop. I don’t know why professors and teachers in my past demanded X pages or X,000 word essays. I always found myself looking at the word count to see when I could finish typing.
You know that thing you can talk about for hours but you don’t because it’s rude? You know that thing you read every chance you get? That thing you love so much you feel like you’ll bust if you don’t let a little of it out from time to time? That thing you absolutely geek out about? If you were writing about that thing…well 5,000 would just get you started. Don’t look at the total number of words. That’s nothing. Get the ideas out of your head.
Passion is Required
You ask me a simple question about any of several topics and I’ll give you both barrels. Don’t get me started. I could corner you for hours to talk about cow poop or any of a number of topics. BTW, I expect you to be just as passionate as I am if we disagree because if I’m wrong I don’t want to remain wrong. Don’t give up on me. Convince me. Sway me with your words. You can’t succeed if you don’t care. It’s just not worth it.
But if you do care…if you love what you are writing about…there is no limit. There is no end. You’ll be upset that you have to cut out whole paragraphs to get you back to that ridiculous and arbitrary 5,000 word limit.
Put on your grown-up Pants
You know you want to do it. But something is stopping you. Why are you making excuses? You want to write? Write. Get yourself a blog and throw it out there for the world to see. Will you be rejected by some? Yes. Will some people say you’re an idiot? Yup. Will your opinions be challenged and will your best arguments be exposed as somewhat shakey? Yes. And that’s good. You will also help some of your readers to evolve their own opinions. I don’t want to continue living in ignorance. Please, enlighten and persuade me. Almost every blog post results in a conversation with dad. Sometimes it’s clarification, sometimes it’s correction, sometimes it’s just an exploration. How cool is that?
Paint (maybe Picture)
Show me the world. Use words. Use pictures if you want. Publishing costs are effectively zero so…go to town. I keep my phone with me at all times. If I see something interesting that creates a spark I snap a picture of it. Julie does the same. In fact, lots of times the pictures are the story. I just put words between pictures to chain them along. But you don’t need a phone. You have words. Write it up. Call me Ishmael. Make it happen on the page. Show me the world you see…or the world you want to see. I can’t see it if you don’t show it to me. And if a picture is worth 1,000 words…well, it’s easy.
What aren’t you writing about? I know there is a lot of garbage out there that’s not worth reading. That should be encouragement enough to convince you that you need to start. The worst you can do is add to the pile like I do. But there is a chance, however small, that you will say something that will impact the world or even just one reader in a positive way…that you will infect someone with your passion. But if you sit and wring your hands and live in constant fear of rejection, refusing to publish what few scribbles you have made we will never hear your voice. And we may all continue to live on in ignorance because you are afraid…afraid of rejection. Afraid of the work. Afraid of 5,000 words.
My goodness! it has never been easier to get your words out there. Just start up a free blog (like this one), take some cat pictures (to build traffic from Facebook), write a few words and hit publish. That’s it. No big whoop. Just hit publish. Just do it. If it stinks (and I think most of my stuff does) try to do better tomorrow. And the next day. If you manage to publish every day or even every other day, before long you’ll have enough practice that you can sit down with a simple idea and build 5,000 words of passion and persuasion before you finish that first cup of coffee (or in this case, about 1000 words). It’s no big deal. You are writing about your favorite topic…even if it’s not cow poop.
What are you passionate about? I’ll never know if you don’t tell me.