It’s 9:18 PM on Wednesday, November 1, 2017. Chet Baker is playing in the background. I’m sitting at the computer by candlelight. I am trying to meet my self-imposed challenge—to write.
This past weekend, I decided (again) to try to better myself and take charge of certain areas of my life (again). Writing for at least 20 minutes every day is one of those challenges.
But I don’t know where to start. I look at my works in progress, and I’m not sure which one I should focus on. So, I start yet another piece. This one.
I guess the point is to write. Whatever I write.
You may be thinking that someone who claims to be a writer shouldn’t have to challenge themselves to write. Well, I do.
I work with words all day. Even more so lately. I write. I edit. I translate. I review.
Although I’m allowed certain creativity at work, it’s government work. They are not MY words. They are the government’s words. They are not MY thoughts. They are the government’s thoughts. I just have to convey them as well as I can. And, most importantly, I have deadlines.
This, my creative work, is all me. I answer only to myself. If I don’t impose my own challenges and deadlines, there is minimal to no creation. Hence, the self-imposed writing challenge.
How do I keep myself accountable? I just track it. I’m one of those people who’s gotten into that whole bullet-journal thing. I’m not even consistent with that. However, unlike anything else I’ve ever tried before, this works for me (when I use it). And I keep going back to the same one I started in February 2017. The flexibility and “easy-goingness” of this type of journaling makes me feel alright about going back to my half-filled notebook.
I’ve been known to abandon a perfectly fine notebook because I had used up 10 or so pages, but didn’t like the direction I was going in. However, with a bullet journal, I feel free to be as disjointed as I want. I know, there was nothing stopping me from taking this type of approach before with previous notebooks except my own mindset.
Anyway, my raspberry-coloured bullet journal is where I track my writing challenge, along with my other challenges.
My hope is to discipline myself enough where creative writing just becomes as much of a normal routine as brushing my teeth. Or even more primitive than that, as normal and necessary as relieving myself. Ewww! Sorry about that. But you get what I mean.
As I sit here writing, I notice that I’ve met and even surpassed my self-imposed 20-minute writing challenge and I wonder why this hasn’t already become a normal routine. Even though this piece is somewhat disjointed (and I won’t even edit it anymore than I’m doing as I write it), writing is such a luxurious pleasure!
I don’t know if luxurious pleasure is quite the right way to describe it, but it’s all I can think of right now.
Ah! If I keep at it, I’m sure (I hope) I’ll improve my writing style and become better at expressing my thoughts. But for tonight, this rough, unpolished piece is what I’m posting for anyone to read.
Hopefully, despite this piece, you’ll stick around to see how my writing challenge helps me improve my prose.