Picture: Fritillaria pudica (yellow bell, yellow fritillary) taken two weeks ago in Spokane Valley.
I'm in a season of doing some long form writing, working on a writing project with a publisher. I've been drawn to the idea of being a writer since I was young but translating that into the reality of actual disciplined writing has been a challenge through the years. The blog does help provide a kind of discipline. Part of my life routine is to get at least one post up every day. The best thing about the blog is that when I hit "Publish" it's out there, which tends to really focus my attention (typos etc. not withstanding). But there is another kind of writing that takes a longer view, with time for revisiting and editing and boiling down.
There is a new online App called 750 Words that has the simple premise of providing a venue to get in 750 words of writing every day. Here's how it's described on the site.
I've long been inspired by an idea I first learned about in The Artist's Way called morning pages. Morning pages are three pages of writing done every day, typically encouraged to be in "long hand", typically done in the morning, that can be about anything and everything that comes into your head. It's about getting it all out of your head, and is not supposed to be edited or censored in any way. The idea is that if you can get in the habit of writing three pages a day, that it will help clear your mind and get the ideas flowing for the rest of the day. Unlike many of the other exercises in that book, I found that this one actually worked and was really really useful.
I've used the exercise as a great way to think out loud without having to worry about half-formed ideas, random tangents, private stuff, and all the other things in our heads that we often filter out before ever voicing them or writing about them. It's a daily brain dump. Over time, I've found that it's also very helpful as a tool to get thoughts going that have become stuck, or to help get to the bottom of a rotten mood.
750 Words is the online, future-ified, fun-ified translation of this exercise.
Your writing on the site is private to you, so it's not a blog. It's more personal, intended for personal nurture and development. The site will track how many words you've written and has a point system for your progress. I'm not using the site but I am running with the concept of 750 words or three pages a day.
The other best advice in writing that I've heard, and something that I will keep dear to my heart as I tackle my three pages a day, is Anne Lamott's motto; "sh%$#ty first drafts."