Ok, so I took a much longer break than I meant to. Oops. But onwards and upwards.
When I finished my marathon blogging run of posting something for every game the Atlanta Braves played last season, I imagined my first post after the season would be a reflective one. After all, I did the marathon as a way to challenge myself to be more consistent about writing. Sure, it was a little a bit about my love for a team I’ve followed for over 20 years, but mostly it was about setting a tangible goal.
Was it worth it?
I think so. I posted 162 times over 6+ months, and, in terms of length, they were all legitimate posts, too. There were a couple times when I felt like just throwing up a picture with a witty comment and being done with it, particularly for the mid-week games on the West coast. (And, for a few of those, I must admit, I did post the next morning instead of waiting up for the end of the game.) But, no, I didn’t do that. I wrote full posts of around 1,000 words every time.
I wrote at the beginning of the marathon that I didn’t think the challenge would be finding stuff to write about, and I was right. I brainstormed a massive list of potential topics to pull from, and when I finished, there were still topics left.
However, I also wrote that I thought the real challenge, as it probably is for all writers, would be to make each post worth reading, and on that effort, I’m not sure I passed with flying colors.
Along that line, I told myself that once a post was up, there would be no editing. It was published. It was done. So I did very little reading back of what I posted. Of course I edited before I posted, and I did – a couple times – see something after I posted, like a misspelling, and allowed myself to change it. But for the most part, posted equaled finished.
That’s how my quality check pans out. It’s very easy to go back and read through some of my posts the purpose of reflection. And what do I find? The quality certainly varied. I think a lot of that had to do with the topic I chose for that day. It’s obvious, to me the reader, which topics really inspired me and were easy to approach, like those related to childhood memories just poured out of me, while other, more technical posts didn’t.
I also learned the quality of my work tends to suffer when it’s two in the morning and I’d rather be sleeping. Shocking, I know. Same goes for when I was semi-sleeping and forcing myself to stay awake to finish. Those posts, and you can probably tell them from their lack of coherence, were some of the worst. That, friends, is called procrastination, and is, thankfully, not something I am prone to. But when you’re blogging for the 15th time in 17 days, it may not always be the most appetizing pursuit, so, yes, I was known to put off working on a post until after a game was over. And, of course, as divine punishment, I swear those were the nights I was stuck with a less than inspiring topic that seemed to stand between me and the page.
But that exercise did teach me a good lesson. While I may not enjoy writing on command, I can do it. It can be done. So, in that sense, there’s no excuse for not writing at least something, say, six out of seven days a week. Writing every day, whether it’s 500, 1,000 or 10,000+ words, can be done. It can be done early in the morning or late at night or on a lunch break. Even on the busiest of busy days, there are 30 minutes that can be cut out for writing.
I know this now, and I’ve found it easily implemented in my own life. I’m happy to say that habit I started has stuck with me, and I’ve written a lot over the past few months I haven’t been blogging, whether it was work on my book or on short stories I hope to post here soon.
So, because of that, I’m glad I made myself take on the crazy marathon. It gave me a clear goal, which I also learned is something I desperately need to be successful. It gave me a purpose for this blog, which helped to keep it going. And it showed me the concept of ‘sitting your butt in the chair’ truly is the only way to write. To be a writer, you have to write. Seems simple enough, yet it is a concept many find difficult to grasp. And you have to do it even on the days it’s the last thing in the world you want to be doing. Practice does make (closer to) perfect. And that’s all writing every day is. Not chiseling away on the next, great American novel. It’s just practice.
My final thought, which I have to say as I was focused on the Braves, is that it was sad to see the season end the way, via the extremely liberal “in-field” fly rule, the lack of opportunity to play more than one playoff game, and the farewell error from a certain, future Hall of Famer. But that’s ok – that team is young and full of talent. Next year should be a lot of fun. (Alas, hope springs eternal.) I doubt I’ll be documenting it, though. Onwards and upwards.