Writing for My Life: #30DayWritingChallenge
This year has been rough, to say the least. There have been unabashed attacks against black communities — particularly black women; Muslim communities (and I don’t know how many times I have to say this, but being a Muslim is not a racial category, but whatever) are being targeted by white people (and I will generalize because this election completely dismantled the #notallwhitepeople defense); and LGBTQ communities of color have been disproportionately attacked.
I lost family members this year — not blood kin, but the fictive kin of which Melissa Harris-Perry speaks. And every time I lost a brother or sister, I found myself at the computer, writing pieces to express my anger and anguish at a system that seems to not give a damn about humanity (yes, white people are dehumanized in their own white supremacy; I would speak more about this, but I want this piece to be relatively short, so I’ll hold my thoughts on this for another time). This kind of writing — responsive to tragedy — perpetuated a trend that profited from the suffering and deaths of myself and others kissed by the sun. Although I didn’t profit financially, people tended to read the pieces written after tragedies more than pieces written during other times. With this in mind, I’m deciding that I’m going to write passionately for thirty days straight, readership be damned. I don’t know the subject of each piece, but I will write for my life, I will make writing my life, and I will write with a ferocity fueled by the gifts and struggles of my ancestors.
I don’t expect you all to read all of my pieces. But it is my sincere hope that at least one of these pieces will touch you, will inspire or enlighten you. I hope one of these pieces will expose something for you, expand your thinking — even if you disagree — and push you to greater heights and deeper depths.
And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hope one of my pieces goes viral. I’m tired of sitting in the corner of the Internet sharing prophetic thoughts that other people with larger audiences either say or refuse to say. I’m doing this challenge to let people know that you can write beautifully, thoughtfully, and passionately — and people will read these pieces. I’m not going to promise all of my pieces will be brilliant, but I will promise this: every piece will be honest. Here are some ground rules:
- Each piece will come after I meditate. William Zinsser said clarity of thought is what produces clear — and therefore good and beautiful — writing.
- I will not hold my tongue about white supremacy.
- I will not hold my tongue about the distinction between progressives and liberals (I cannot stand liberals; I am, however, a progressive). Although these terms seem to be synonyms in our current culture, they are not. The DNC is not a progressive party; it’s a liberal one — and a rather spineless liberal one at that.
- I will not hold my tongue about being black. I am black before I am anything else. And it is this blackness that has made my life beautiful and ugly at the same time.
- I will not write clickbait articles. These pieces will be reflections, because I want you to think. I’m not simply trying to get clicks — although that’s certainly one of my goals — I’m writing to expand minds.
- My pieces will not be longer than 1000 words. If that’s too long for you, that’s okay; but remember: most newspaper articles are between 700–1000 words.
With this in mind, I urge everyone who reads this to follow me through this journey — a journey that might be exhausting but not exhaustive. And I hope that, through this journey, whoever reads my pieces will leave knowing that all I do is fueled by an intense love for humanity — black, brown, or otherwise.
And by “follow,” I mean follow. Literally. If you like what you read, click that young follow button to keep up.
I’ll see you tomorrow.