And so begins my venture into WordPress’ Writing 101.
I decided to participate in their twenty days of daily writing and today’s writing assignment was to just write. No editing. Just free writing for twenty minutes. This will be interesting considering I just woke up.
I wanted to do this practice, because I probably could use all the help I can find when it comes to my writing. There may be many ideas tucked away inside my head, but I’m not sure if they always flow out of me in the most coherent ways. I don’t even really know what I’m going to write about this morning.
I want to be a writer. Let’s be honest, I want to be a writer that people want to read. The other day, one of the blog’s I follow asked the question: What does your dream writer’s life look like? I thought it was a good question and it made me look at what my motivation is behind this writing.
If I want to lay out full disclosure about why I want to be a writer, it’s because I want to write books that people love. I want to write books the parents read to their children at night, or that teenagers gobble up to help them think (or maybe just to escape), or to be the book that adults can’t put down. I want to write books that will last the test of time, that will be considered a must read a hundred or so years from now.
And of course I want to be famous. I never really thought that I wanted fame, but I suppose it is in there. Somewhere. Probably in more places than I really care to admit. But the question is, at what cost?
I know that if I want to be a writer that people read, I need to build my platform and sell myself. That’s why I started this blog in the first place. And then I started reading all these advice columns on how to do those two things – and so I started bombarding everyone about my blog posts through twitter. My posts would automatically tweet through my twitter, which then would automatically feed into my facebook. And then I would retweet those posts, which would also feed into my facebook.
I wonder how many block lists I made from this. I knew it didn’t feel right to do it this way. I can’t stand spam, and here I was doing the same thing. There’s nothing wrong with talking about my blog posts via twitter and facebook, but I was going overboard. There is a difference between posting about a new blog and spamming about it. I was missing the point. I wasn’t building community. If I really want to be a writer that people love to read, shouldn’t I be a writer that people love?
Then I began to read writer’s a publishers that have a better grasp on this whole business than I do. Which is probably everyone else out there. They were saying the same things I was feeling. This was not the way to go about it. I needed to build community. Honest, good, back and forth sharing about everything outside of writing as well as writing – community.
And this also started me thinking about how I’m building community in my life in general. I took a real, long look and I had to say that it wasn’t good.
I’ve had a facebook and twitter account for a while now, but I haven’t used either of them to any real extent for quite some time. I tweeted about social justice issues, but beyond that I hadn’t really done anything. I definitely wasn’t connecting to those I called my friends on either media.
To be honest, I haven’t really been connecting with anyone face-to-face, either. I’m a pretty introverted person, and I’m pretty quiet to begin with, but I wasn’t really making an effort to connect outside of my immediate family either. Other than just a “Hi, how are you?” to someone now and then. When was the last time I prayed for the people I claim to care about? When was the last time I really stopped to listen to what they say after I ask how they’re doing?
I think about this from time to time, but I haven’t really changed much. I’ll be good now and then, but I go back to being distracted or busy or whatever it is that keeps me from reaching out and connecting.
Well, here’s another attempt to change that. It’ll be an effort, not because people are so difficult to get to know beyond small talk, but because I’m a little obstinate when it comes to putting thoughts into action. The intentions are there, but I’m not that good at being intentional. We’ll see how it goes.