Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Too much writing

When I committed to write every day, back in November of ought-six, I meant it. And aside from the occasional day without internet access, I've posted here at once in each twenty-four hour period.

But there are days when I spend almost all my waking time writing. And on those days I feel very much like I've fulfilled my write-every-day pledge, even though none of it has been for this site.

So far I've resisted using that as an excuse to skip the day's blogging, although regular readers will know that I sometimes come darn close. (I frequently post short entries organized around pictures or kid anecdotes or even just links to the other writing I did that day.) To me, the pledge to dailyblog isn't just a pledge to write every day -- it's a commitment to a certain set of readers. Not that those people are waiting with bated breath for my daily post; I'm not that conceited (or popular). But the way I keep myself committed to daily writing is by obligating myself publicly to my few (wonderful, faithful) readers. I can't make some private deal with myself that some other piece of writing "counts" for my daily output for that day. I've made a public vow; the public, then, gets to witness whether I live up to its terms or not, and the place they gather to check in is here.

Today I spent the entire afternoon writing the last five hundred words for a 2200-word encyclopedia article on "Films for Religious/Missionary Use." Encyclopedia work is highly rewarding, but that's largely because it's difficult. The encyclopedia article should be comprehensive, but not sterile. It's a challenge to craft a brief introduction to a topic on which multiple books could easily be written. After working and reworking the article, I certainly feel like I've done my writing for the day.

Nevertheless, that writing doesn't exercise the same muscles as this writing. The encyclopedia article must be precise, economical, authoritative, with just a hint of a personal point of view to make it readable. That's almost nobody's natural writing voice. And so it takes extra work. This writing -- the blog -- is all about my writing voice and my personal point of view. The whole reason I come here every day, to post a lot or post just a little, is to learn more about my writing voice and my personal point of view. And the way to do that is to write freely, without obsessing over perfection.

There are two or three more entries due (to different publications) over the next few weeks. I'll do a lot of writing, and I'll come home tired and in the mood to be done with this quickly. But in all probability, that's when I'll need this space -- and its attendant writing challenges -- most.

1 comment:

the secret knitter said...

Ah, you're too modest. Writing blog entries every day is tough, as I've been dealing with recently. You do a wonderful job.