There was a fire somewhere last night. The smell of smoke was thick in the air and when I opened the windows to check the fire was outside and not burning away somewhere else in the house, the street was clouded. The acrid taste made me feel queasy and I searched online to find out what was burning. For some reason, I wanted to know and was frustrated to not find anything. In a world where a news story from across the globe can reach you in a matter of minutes, it is still a reminder that there are some things we can’t instantly know just by searching.
Today is the first day of #The100DayProject which is run by Elle Luna and Lindsay Jean Thomson. Last year, I took on too much at a time when Austin was still pretty young. I am not sure I have any less on my plate now, being back to work and balancing all that, but I do want to a) focus on positive things that make me happy b) write something every day so I have decided to have another go.
For someone who is usually only too happy to share her thoughts and feelings, it always catches me off-guard when I realise I have been bottling things up. I can always tell when I am feeling stressed because it shows in my face. Not in my expression. In my actual face. For a few days now, I’ve been plagued with itchy eyes (rampant hay fever I think) which has made the skin around my eye red and inflamed. I have eczema around my mouth and a nasty cold sore has just cleared up (I managed to ward off two other cold sore attempts with Zovirax).
Over 500 words! I am super thrilled to get some more written today. I am great at procrastinating and I really felt that the untidy state of my study was a superb excuse for not getting writing. I do still want to get my workspace in order but it is no longer a prerequisite for me to write. As Elise Joy says, you’ve got to Do the Work. Simple but so true.
In the early ours of yesterday morning, I was wide awake. Austin was sleeping (and has been brilliant this week at sleeping up to 8 hours at a time overnight) but my mind was turning and I couldn’t get to sleep.
Does anyone else have a bookshelf like this? I’ve accumulated several books on writing from my degree and from my own interest in developing my craft (*cringe*). I feel like this is what a noob writer does – read about writing to avoid actually having to, you know, write.
I think my favourite book on writing is Stephen King’s On Writing which simultaneously inspires me and terrifies me.
He doesn’t muck about, does he? And whilst I am rarely sitting around waiting for inspiration, I do put off writing because I have this weird feeling of shame – like I’m playing Writer Dress-Up and someone is going to walk in on me and laugh. It’s good to be reminded that it is work and so long as you are working at it, you deserve to call yourself a writer.
The most practical and useful book in terms of planning was the Ready, Set, Novel ! Writer’s Workbook which gives prompts and step by step activities to help you start to outline a novel. For a newbie like me who is not really expecting to write for anything other than my own benefit (although I always hear a tiny, distant whisper of ‘Who knows..?’ whenever I think that), it was just what I needed to get started and I have since made a start on my (perhaps over-ambitious) First Novel. I’m only 2000-odd words in but it’s a start and I really need to get that habit of daily writing underway (not just here!) so that I can make some progress.
Although my crafting has dropped off dramatically, I have been doing more writing. It’s not enough writing: it’s not regular enough. But it’s a start. One of my issues with writing (whether it’s blogging or ‘proper’ writing) is that I wasn’t using my laptop much – it was bulky and usually tucked away out of sight. Now I have it set up in my new study, it is even more inaccessible. Writing on the iPad just doesn’t work for me for more than texts or tweets so I needed something more portable that would encourage me to be able to write every day.
My new MacBook is already helping me to develop into a regular writing habit. Plus it’s so pretty. I made my desktop background a mix of pics of my family and the Penguin Threads books I have bought for some future birthday present for Lina. I’m hoping these will provide suitable inspiration.
I hate beginnings. Or rather, I hate messy beginnings. I do like, however, a neat starting point: a new year, a birthday, even a Monday is better than nothing. However, waiting for a neat starting point usually means for me never starting at all. Those key days when it makes sense to get started are also days when life is busy and filled with action. Reflection often starts a few days later and by then, the opportunity is missed.
Today, I started a new journal. A different kind to the writing I do here. It is offline. Whilst I already have an offline, old-school paper notebook journal, I rarely write in it. It just isn’t convenient for me to sit and write by hand, romantic as that notion is.
As part of Apple’s 5 year App Store birthday celebrations, I picked up Day One for free. It is available and syncs between our iMac, my iPad and iPhone and importantly it is pretty to look at. Well, maybe sleek is a better word. In any case, the fact that it is aesthetically pleasing makes it much more likely that I will want to access it regularly (dare I say it, daily?).
Writing offline is a new experience and it makes me realise how much of a show-off I am (it feel VERY strange to write knowing no-one will read it – apparently, I love an audience. So why am I bothering to write offline in a personal journal if it feels so strange, so private?
Writing privately has a big advantage that write here does not allow: I do not have to censor or edit my thoughts. I can write freely. However, I do not intend to use my personal offline diary as a place to vent whatever petty grievance I have with the world on any given day. Whilst that could serve a useful, fleeting purpose, it would not serve any long term purpose. Instead, I want to build a journal that is more than a list of events, more than a angry rant, more than a carefully edited version of my life. As I have to be increasingly careful about what I write about online with my fledgling teaching career, it will feel good to be able to write honestly and opening without fear of inadvertent exposure to pupil inquisition.
I want to create a piece of writing which will help me be a better writer (perhaps a better teacher) without having to think about why I am writing and who might be reading. Whilst I have already admitting to loving an audience, the audience I love also inhibits me from writing what I want. I can write without being accused of being banal. Because that is what I really fear: being banal
I have started today. Not a Monday, a birthday or a start of anything. I have started with an entry which is a little bit of reflection on diary writing, a little bit of what is on my mind today. I really hope I can keep writing every day about the things that matter to me. This is my first step from being a sometime blogger to an always diarist.