Writing 101 Assignment 1: Free Writing

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.

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13 thoughts on “Writing 101 Assignment 1: Free Writing

  1. I like reading my own thoughts about why I want to be a writer, echoed by someone else. The only place I think differently is on the fame. Fame seems to me a curse. I think that every time I wait in line at the grocery store and see the tabloids. You’ll probably be safe as a writer though. 🙂 Nice post!

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    1. Thank you. I feel the same way about fame – I don’t really want it, because I don’t really want the attention that it would bring toward my family. However, I know that there is part of me that would smile broadly if my books were talked about on the level of J.K. Rowling or James Paterson, etc. 🙂

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  2. Your words put a sad little smile on my face 🙂 Why sad? Because one I also used to dream of becoming a writer, but life took a different route and it just became a hobby I guess. That’s why I started blogging. I’m not really good at writing, as you may observe from my own posts, but at least I’m doing what I love 🙂 I’m sure you’ll make it big one day and trust me, I’ll be in the lookout for your book ❤

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    1. I had thought life was taking me in a different direction than writing as well, but then I finally realized that I was created to be a writer. It’s just who I am. Now, what form that takes can be many different things. You blog, so that makes you a writer. It is who you are. 🙂

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      1. I find that to be a very comforting thought 🙂 Well I might not become a “real writer” one day, but at least I’m happy that I tried on some level (even if it is insignificant) 🙂

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  3. I enjoyed reading the flow of your thoughts in this stream of consciousness post. You write well and coherently and you’re doing what I think is important in order to ‘build a community’ – writing things that other people can relate to. Although I’m not much of a writer aside from blogging about my daily doings, I can relate to your thoughts on building a professional and personal community and wanting to succeed in what you’ve chosen to do with your life 🙂 Can’t wait to read more from you in the days to come!

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  4. Great post. And I agree with the comment you wrote on my blog. Branding yourself without spamming is SO important. Even the thought of me being a spammer makes me shy away from posting promoting myself at all…which is totally the opposite point of having healthy self-promotion.

    Also, I decided follow your Twitter because we both follow @CSLewisDaily So I know I’ll like your style. Happy writing!

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