13 after 31: on writing daily on Medium

I did it! One whole month, daily!

I know, some of you are old pros at this and my little 31-day-run is rather short. But, unbeknownst to me when I made my declaration on July 1st, I chose to start my one-year project during a month of unexpected challenges: family death, illness, and my mother’s unplanned two-week stay.

Life can be like that …in fact, most often it is. I wonder, had I known all of that would happen, would I have put it off? Isn’t that what we all tend to do?

Anyway … I did it. I didn’t give up, not even for one day!

And here’s what I’ve learned …

  1. Some people won’t get this daily thing, unless they’re in it or they’ve done it, and they really don’t understand what drives it if they don’t write themselves. In my family, daily practices for religion, for sports, or for music … that makes sense. But for writing? I shake it off, retreat to my room, close the door, and do it anyway.
  2. I have fear issues … I know, who doesn’t? With the commitment to write every day, the fear is like a low hum. What if I can’t think of anything to write?
  3. For a long time, my editor has been all-powerful. Now I’m coming to a new understanding with her because of this daily practice. The greater the volume of writing that I have out there, the more likely it is that some of it won’t be perfect. It can’t be. So she lets me publish and move on.
  4. I have a weird “don’t look at me/please look at me” complex. I feel uncertain when my writing gets attention from strangers, and insecure when it doesn’t get any attention from strangers.
  5. I must forget about the hearts and do it from my heart. Everything happens in its own time. People will find my stuff randomly — not when I want them to — so the stats have to be ignored with the mantra: I’m here to write, I’m here to practice, I’m here to learn. I’m not here for hearts.
  6. The crowd here on Medium is eclectic, fascinating, often insightful, opinionated, creative, and inspiring. I’ve gotten responses to my posts that I never expected to get, and I’ve written whole posts inspired by their words. Awesome!!
  7. Writing and publishing every day requires that I also read and experience every day. Now, more than ever, I have to maintain a well of ideas. It will run dry fast if I don’t make time for mental self-care and refreshment.
  8. There is something to be said for writing on a platform managed by someone else. This is a huge epiphany for me because I thought I had to self-host and self-manage. But with that comes a lot of extra work — time taken from writing. In the past 31 days, friends came to me with their technical issues on their self-hosted blog. In contrast, I’ve been free of all that. I now understand why popular writers like Elizabeth Gilbert and Anne Lamott put their daily reflections out on Facebook instead of their own website, though I think they should consider Medium instead.
  9. I once heard Natalie Goldberg say that no one writes every day and it comforted me. But here I am, after 31 days, not only writing every day but publishing every day. I know it’s still early, but it’s growing on me. Even when I sit down with absolutely nothing in mind to write, it comes if I just listen patiently enough. Will I say that 6 months from now? Who knows … but, for now, I’m good and that’s enough.
  10. I won’t ever please everyone. How many times have we heard someone tell us that? But, it’s one thing to cognize it and another to practice it and release issues that arise when you sense someone’s displeasure. So far, my response is to simply start writing my next piece. It works.
  11. What I think is good isn’t what others will necessarily even bother to read. It’s weird. I had so much fun writing my post about our moose, and it barely got any readers. I’ve decided that’s okay; as they say, write first for yourself. I’m just going to keep writing. That’s what I’m here to do.
  12. “Write first for yourself.” Really. I’m repeating that phrase because it’s so refreshing. It’s the opposite of what I was taught when I started blogging. But that was about writing copy and, when you want to sell something, it’s absolutely true …and distinct from practicing creativity and voice.
  13. I can’t wait for inspiration. In fact, when I actively look for it by just sitting down and writing, I eventually unearth it like a buried treasure. The stuff that comes out is sometimes like a magical surprise.

I’m going to close this with a big ❣THANK YOU❣ to my fellow writers here on Medium — especially those who have inspired, encouraged and supported me (you know who you are).

I am truly grateful to be learning from you and with you.

Here’s to our future magical surprises.

If you enjoyed this post, I hope you’ll consider following me and/or my publication, The Alchemme so that we can stay in touch.

Shall we share the magic?