Writing well seems to me to be about all the small choices I make throughout the day.[1. See the website of James Clear. His writing and research provides strong evidence that the long term is very much determined by short term choices] I can create something that is hard, that challenges me, or something that is easy.
What is easy, of course, changes over time. (Or that is my hope, anyway.)
She stomped across the room and slammed the door is now easy, and rather pedestrian, for me. She lifted the Colt .45 and obliterated her wife’s face from their wedding picture. It ripped off her face, too. But that was beside the point. The boom from the discharge set off the car alarm and the neighbor’s dog.
This seems more interesting, somewhat more distance, with the potential for irony and humor just at the surface. A little less easy, too.
Creating anything is never simple. Each of us knows in our heart when we write shit and when we’re pulling blood out of finger tips. I can write shit every day and not get better as a writer and not feel too great about myself, either.
Or I can choose to create something that stretches me, makes me nervous, makes think, “what the hell am I doing.”
And so it is with this blog. For ten years I’ve been blogging here. The majority of what I’ve created is forgettable, entirely forgettable. Even to me it is boring. I can’t imagine what it has been like for my readers.
Upgrading My Life
In January 2015 I hand wrote on the back of an old business card, “I want to upgrade my life in 2015.” Here I am in August and upgrading my life has come to mean that I must do something harder and with more effort on this blog, something that I want to learn, something that terrifies me.
So with sweaty palms and no clear vision for the end, I am changing the focus (or pinning down the focus?!?) of this blog. What interests me most now is how to get better as a writer. One way to do that is to write about the practice and craft of writing here. Blog entries will focus on the many tools available to us in English that can make our writing deeper and make the process of writing more rewarding.
I need to do this for me. With no formal plans to attend an MFA program, I must create my own, airy, light, writing workshop and hope that others will join me. Yes, please do!
I vow to post every Monday and Thursday to my email newsletter first. Then I will post that content to the blog. Part of upgrading my life is becoming someone I believe is reliable. So I must act in a reliable way to myself.
I will also include my own writing in my newsletters. The only way I can encourage others to share with me is to share first, and share often. This may cause you to roll your eyes in disgust. If so, the unsubscribe button is always near at hand.
Vulnerability entails going to the edge and jumping. For me to jump means writing more fiction and sharing it and writing badly and sharing it.
I know I won’t create well every time I create. But I can strive to always create better.
My fervent hope is that you will join me in this new workshop I hope to create. You may sign up here.