Today is the last 30 For 30/30 essay in which I committed to writing and publishing one essay per day in under 30 minutes.
Some time ago I wrote an unpublished essay about ‘doing the work.’ It’s a term coined by Ev Bogue back when he was writing his private subscription letter.
The concept is that a writer should write every day; a painter should paint every day; a singer should sing every day.
Whatever your art, you should engage with it on a daily basis in one form or another.
For a singer that might mean looking at new compositions, rehearsing songs in your existing repertoire, or writing some of your own. For a writer that might include reading in your genre, reading outside your genre, writing parts of new work.
A writer’s garden
For me, this translates to what I call my writer’s garden. Years ago I took a graduate course in public speaking by a master orator named Dr. Craig Skinner. What I learned in his class forever changed the way I viewed creative pursuits.
In my writer’s garden—contained inside my WordPress dashboard on BarryMorris.net and stored as drafts as well as in some folders on my computer—there are many essays in different stages of development. Some are seedlings while others are tender shoots with promise, and still, others are lush and leafy nearly ready for harvest.
My daily visits to my writer’s garden results in me watering a few seedlings on one day, and perhaps others on subsequent days. Sometimes, one gets my total attention.
It’s different for every artist, but if you are truly an artist, you are driven by your art and compelled to create more. Sometimes we don’t have the capacity to do the work because of the pressures of life or the day job, and you don’t feel like you’re fulfilling your sacred calling to create.
But that’s OK. Extend some compassion to yourself and smile. Tomorrow, surely, the sun will rise.
What I’ve learned
Writing and publishing every day for 30 days isn’t a monumental achievement by any means, but it did take significant effort to think about, create, edit, and publish a new essay each day.
Here’s what I learned in the process (in no particular order)…
- That I could actually do it.
- That writing and publishing every day isn’t as hard as I thought it might be
- That I was able to keep the daily schedule even while traveling for work
- That my essay titles (and most of the content) grew longer as the days passed
- That stimulating the ‘writing muscles’ and working them out each day helps me gain greater clarity around my writing
- That now that I’ve come to the end of the series, part of me wants to continue, and another part of me doesn’t
- That writing every day stimulates me to conceive new projects and new ideas
I think everyone who identifies as a creative should undertake a challenge such as this from time to time. It stimulates the brain, allows the squeaky wheel to get the grease, and reminds us that we are artists.
Reasons for creating a challenge
If you have an art, a talent, a practice of self-expression that makes you feel whole, I urge you to consider creating a challenge. Here are some guidelines for doing so.
- Make it realistic
- But also make it challenging…it is, after all, a challenge
- It should make you feel a bit uncomfortable and take you a bit outside your comfort zone
- It should have boundaries so both you and your audience know what to expect
- Create some accountability – if I hadn’t publically announced that I was doing this, it wouldn’t have had the same level of importance for me (my public was waiting)
- Get started and try to stay a day ahead of the game; there is less pressure that way
- Create a reward for yourself when you meet your challenge
When you create your challenge, please let me know. I’d like to return the favor and follow you! 🙂