If you follow me on social media you’ll know that on August 30, I decided to participate in the #100DaysOfWriting challenge, which does what it says on the hashtag.
Like many of what turn out to be major projects – getting fit, knitting complex knitted colourwork items – this began on impulse. A friend decided to do it and I thought I would tag along. I’m so glad I did. Here’s what I learned.
1. I bloody love writing. I did know this, of course I did, but these 100 days have reconnected me with the sheer joy of managing to put down in words exactly, precisely, what I want to convey.
2. Writing is harder than you think. Point 1 above does not happen that often. On many, many days, the words are a poor shadow of what’s in my head.
3. Practice makes better. Not perfect. Writing is never perfect for the writer. You know how you read a book and love it, and see the film and it’s – well, not as good as the book? For writers (this writer anyway) the book on the page is never as good as the book in the head. But the more you write, the better you get at it. I know it’s obvious – but I do feel as though I learned this over again.
4. There’s always tomorrow. Today’s words won’t behave. That’s okay.
5. There are always words. In these 100 days I’ve written on days when, otherwise, I would have been too tired or busy or full-of-cold to bother.
6. I’ve reconnected with no-stakes writing. When writing is your living, it soon happens that everything you write is for something that someone is waiting for. Which is, I know, wonderful. But I had forgotten what pleasure there is in playing with words on the page.
7. I may be holding the reins but that doesn’t mean I’m in control. Good ideas can grow their own way. If I am wise, I will learn to let them.
So now my #100Days challenge is over – but I am knee-deep (well, 20,000 words in, which is probably roughly knee level, when I come to think about it) in my new book, so the next 100 days will be about finishing a first draft. I’ll have a week off at Christmas…