Yesterday was day 30 of my self-imposed 30-entries-in-30-days. Here is what I learned, in no particular order:
1. Perfection is not even worth my time. I wrote 24 entries, not 30. I started to panic about it when I realized I was more than 2 days behind. But then I reminded myself that hey, I've written more in the past month than I have in the past year, so let's focus on that.
2. People like reading what I write. Some entries were more popular than others, and it wasn't always easy to predict which entires would be popular. Also, it was surprising to me to see who WASN'T reading - and by that I mean who didn't comment on Facebook, or who didn't "like" any of my entries, or who didn't even notice I was writing more again. I didn't take this as judgment - it was just very clear that more people OUTSIDE my circle were very much interested, and were supportive and excited to see I was writing. So... I don't really know what to make of that. But my takeaway is that I do have an audience, and while it's important to me to write for myself, it's nice to know people want to read.
3. None of us are baby geniuses. A friend said this to me a few weeks ago and it stuck with me. I have this underlying fear that because I can't write The World According to Garp, I shouldn't write anything at all. First of all, that is nonsense. Secondly, it is not even a unique thought. It's such a boring and common thought, so I'm trying to shut that up, and I've realized that my writing is something that will get better with practice, as opposed to writing it off as "not good enough."
4. I am a writer. This is more a reminder than a realization. All I need to do to hold on to this title is write. I don't need to get published, I don't need to be perfect, I don't need people to tell me I'm good. I just need to write.
5. I need to think like a writer. This is probably the biggest change over the past month. The more I make time for writing in my life, the more I think like a writer - I see more, I listen more, I'm more curious, I'm more empathetic and understanding. This all makes the writing come a little easier, and it starts to feel like it's easier to write than to NOT write (which is something Julia Cameron promises in The Artist's Way).
6. The "why" is important, but not always necessary. I have a constant conversation in my head about WHY we tell stories, and why we feel compelled to create. This kind of goes with number 3. The why is definitely important, but not having it should never prevent me from writing.
7. I have no idea what kind of stuff I want to write. My go-to is short fiction. But sometimes I want to write a novel. Other times, a play. Other times, a screenplay. Sometimes, a web series. It's okay to not know... but I plan on spending the next few months working on various things to try to figure out what it is I actually love.
8. Any kind of creativity fuels my writer-brain. In the past month, I have sketched at least two things, I have taken more pictures, I have colored with the kids and on my own, and I even helped Maddie write a book. This is all stuff that feels ridiculously good, and it fuels the fire in my head. So no matter what, I need to keep creating.
9. No one is making the rules but me. This is tricky - I do best under deadline and when people are counting on me. I'm terrible at holding myself accountable to ME. But I have to exercise this muscle. I can't let it become atrophied again. So... I don't know how to do this other than to just keep showing up. We'll see how that goes.
Thanks to everyone who read and encouraged me to keep writing. It's working.