A strange thing happens when you start to write every single day.
For the first few days, you are hesitant.
You follow the prompts. You set your timer to force yourself to write.
Even though you are attempting to just let the words flow, you are picky. You want to sound smart. You want your words to mean something.
After a week, you just want to get the damn words on the page and get this over with so you can move on to other things, or if you have waited until the end of the day, so you can go to bed.
So, you will write down anything that comes to mind—information about your day, conversations you overheard, thoughts, dreams, hopes, even to-do lists.
I am now going strong at 16 days—just over two weeks—and I am starting to experience anxiety if I DON’T write.
I’d heard about this before.
I just didn’t expect it to happen so quickly.
I honestly didn’t expect to last past a week in the first place.
But I did something different this time.
I made myself accountable.
I posted about it on my blog and my Facebook writer page.
I posted about it in a couple of closed writing groups I am in on Facebook.
If I’m being honest, I recognize that the only people who really read my Facebook writer page are family and friends, and it’s probably only cursory at best.
But the writing groups did it.
These people don’t know me from Adam…or Eve, as it were.
But I quickly noticed that a core group of people in each group started liking my posts, and maybe they just like everybody’s posts, but it made me want to keep writing and keep posting, because what if they look forward to seeing who wrote that day?
What if they are judging me if I don’t?
Now, okay, I realize that sounds paranoid and probably even a little egotistical.
But, really, what if?
Maybe, though, at the end of the day, it is just that I am truly being accountable to myself for once.
I’ll be honest again and say that I enjoy posting every day that I’ve written.
I get satisfaction from seeing these perfect strangers like my posts, as though they are sending me a virtual pat on the back with a “Well done!” thrown in for good measure.
Social media has its flaws. It makes it easier to be rude and unfeeling towards others. It makes us crave attention. It makes us compare ourselves to others—our day-to-day to someone else’s highlight-of-the-day.
But if it can help a struggling writer like myself find her people, her supporters, her fellow strugglers, is it really all that bad? Or is just that I’m finally finding a way to use it for good, a way that’s been there all along, but that I didn’t see as bogged down as I was in political posts and negative posts and frustrating posts?
I won’t lie. I am an avid social media user, though mostly in the form of Facebook.
But until now, I kind of hated myself for it, made myself feel guilty for it.
Maybe I just needed to find that positive use, the one apart from keeping in contact with family and sharing cute cat memes and videos or book-related links.
Now that I have found it, though, I’m going to be spending a lot more time…on…
What have I done?
Before I go, let me share a funny story with you from tonight.
I decided earlier that I am the worst book lover ever.
I was in the mood to read Orwell’s 1984 as it has gotten so much press recently. I went to my shelves to find my copy…only to find I have no copy.
Okay, so I’ll read Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, then, I decided and went searching…only to find I have no copy.
I immediately set out to rectify this by going to the local thrift bookstore because I didn’t want to spend that much money.
They had Bradbury’s book but not Orwell’s.
In conversation with the clerk, I found, much to my delight, that my local Barnes & Noble has Orwell’s in stock, so I checked out (with three short story collections and a craft book in addition to Bradbury’s book) and headed that direction.
One hour later…
I am now the proud new owner of three short story collections, The Faith of a Writer by Joyce Carol Oates, Fahrenheit 451, 1984, The Illustrated Man (also by Bradbury), and a collection of Bradbury’s short stories.
Upon reflection, I realized that, perhaps I am not, after all, the worst book lover ever.