What does it mean to commit to writing?

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Those of you who are really lovely loyal friends may have noticed that I’ve been blogging every day so far in 2014. That’s because I am determined to write every day, and blogging is a great way to do that. However, those of you who are so very nice may also have noticed that some of the posts are less than enthralling.

I don’t know yet what my commitment to writing this year is going to mean. Blogging daily is one possibility, and I’d love to actually get through the whole year with a daily post (I petered out the last time I tried it about a month before the end of the year). At the same time, that is a lot of pressure. And the pressure also means that many (all??) posts are not edited. And that means that many posts are pretty sucky.

On the flip side, blogging daily could be like the morning pages from The Artist’s Way – a daily practice that warms up my brain and unblocks spiritual channels to let creative energy flow. Blogging is a lot harder than I think it is when I read blogs. My personal experience has been that each post provides a chance to grow my writing abilities as I, daily, reflect on concepts such as audience, openers, tell versus show, narrative unity and continuity, growth over time, and humour in writing. Not a bad daily work-out for my writing muscles.

My writing ambitions are evolving. I’m giving up on some older projects that are never going to happen. I had a drafty draft of an article on math teaching strategies from my PhD: boring, I don’t know a lot about it, and data are too old so I recycled my papers last month. Also just had editorial feedback on a revision of my singles research article: data too old, and need more of a theoretical framework. All of this combined means that a lot of academic-ish writing is moving off my plate by default.

New ideas are emerging, too. I’ve had a hankering for a while to write a young adults novel. I always thought it would be a good genre for me as I adore reading its many productions. Reading Wildwood inspired me to want to create such a semi-mythical world, and made the idea of creating such a novel real. I actually came up with my opening sentences, now securely stored in my “writing ideas” folder.

Children’s books are also tremendously appealing. Having a book-loving child, I’ve read many, many over the past few years, and find myself becoming much more analytical and engaged with the genre. I know what I like and don’t like, and particularly love learning about font & art production details, and the authors’ bios. My daughter is actually feeding me writing ideas, too; in one instance, after a recent mall experience, she posed a “what if?” that I’m using as the basis for a short story.

Finally, there is creative non-fiction. I want to learn more about what this actually means, and still am eager to get back to my stories from Russia & Kyrgyzstan.

I don’t know what all of this means in terms of a career and (sitting in the impoverished winter months) the important question of income. It might actually have nothing to do with either of those important concepts. But maybe I won’t deal with that right now.

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