End of Holidailies: now what?

Commandment # 27,362: Thou shall not pay for any more writing classes until thou develops a near-daily writing regime.

It’s time to follow through on the action portion of this command.

I’ve abided by the abstinence portion for a handful of years now. Occasionally, I’ll weaken and study with the AMAZING Rachelle Benveniste at Santa Monica College. But for the most part, I’ve obeyed. Those UCLA Extension courses I used to indulge in are way over my in-between-jobs price limit anyway; although, I LOVED my teachers there as well. (I would never use all caps for emphasis while writing for any of the above mentioned instructors, but the first thing I read today was Ginny’s HILARIOUS post and I’m very impressionable.)

I know I have thousands of things to learn in order to improve my writing but before I register for a class that costs a week’s worth of groceries (SMC) or a weekend in Santa Barabara (UCLA), I should pull my instructor’s book off my very own bookshelf and start there. What a concept — to actually read something I bought. (That’s commandment # 18,437, by the way.)

The point of Commandment # 27,362 is that I need to sit my butt in the chair and keep my hands on the keyboard for hours at a time as often as possible.

Again, with enthusiasm: Sit and keep my hands on the keyboard for hours at a time as often as possible!

I don’t know why it’s been so difficult to discipline myself either because writing gives me so much pleasure. This year, Holidailies has reminded me (what Thirty Voices taught me) that not only can I sit for 5-8 hours at a stretch and crank out things I’m not too embarrassed to share, I thrive on the process.

The best part of writing for me so far is when Something-It-The-Thing-I’ve-been-mentally-conjuring: That wakes up, turns towards me, reaches out, grabs my wrists and starts pulling. It takes me on a ride, shows me where to go. There is no time to ask questions. I just shut up and surrender.

This happens pretty rarely but lately, more and more frequently. I’ve been attempting to write daily since December – what? – 5th? and Something-It-The-Thing has only woken up maybe twice, three times max. But when it does, it feels good.

So good that I need to make some public thank yous. In reverse chronological order:

  • To Holidailies – Jette & Chip & the mysterious panel of distinguished readers, I don’t know how you all find the time to pull this off every year but I’m so grateful you do it. I’m in between jobs right now (thus the 1000 word ramblings I try to pass off as essays) and having this daily assignment has given me (cue music) a purpose. PLUS Holidailies is such a wonderful way to find & appreciate previously unfamiliar blogs. Every year I walk away with at least one new writer to enjoy & learn from. All this for free – a wow of a gift. Thank you.
  • Readers, I think there might be 6 of you now, thanks for stopping by. If it weren’t for your encouragement, I probably would have spent all my spare time in December divided between Farmville and sneaking into vacant units in my apartment building.
  • I wouldn’t be a blogger if it weren’t for 30 Voices. Although the project came to a close over a year ago, I’ve remained in contact with a good number of the women/fantastic writers I met there. One of the founders has become a new friend I treasure. She’s an exceptional source of great ideas. Her latest is a site called Do Good For Free, for the times “when you cant afford it and want to help.. try these links.” Check out that color box in the upper right corner. How awesome is that that you get to pick your own color scheme? Right?
  • I wouldn’t have ever found 30 Voices if it weren’t for my friend Erica. She and I met in a class ages ago, continued writing together with a small group for another year or two, and later–coincidentally–found ourselves on the same hiking excursion to Yosemite. Erica’s presence on the planet reminds me of the power of good influences, of serendipity, of how brilliant people can be. Since I met her, she has made an impressive career change and is now running her own business as one of the world’s leading Thai Yoga Massage practitioners. I really don’t know what my life would look like today if she had not clued me in to the notion of writing for the world wide web.

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“Holidailies participants solemnly vow to update their Web sites daily from Dec. 7 to Jan. 6. . . . “ Day 31 of Holidailies; Day 3014 of Operation Enduring Freedom.

4 thoughts on “End of Holidailies: now what?

  1. Ruth, you were an absolute find! I am so glad you did Holidailies, glad to have “met” you, and I’m putting you into my reader, so I’ll be back.

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    Ditto, ditto, ditto, done & ditto. :)

  2. Keep writing, Ruth. You don’t have to be at the keyboard for the entire writing process. Have a walk and a think about what you are going to write. Then sit as long as the words are flowing.

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    Uh, Kitty, sppooooky …. I just posted an essay as you wrote this comment – it describes how I was inspired by a walk the other day. How wondrously encouraging. Thank you.

  3. I would like to tell you, for the record, you have got lots more readers than you think silly! As for your writing objectives, and reading ones too, I love them all! If you have not checked out this book, you should, Francine Prose is awesomeness in words:

    http://www.amazon.com/Reading-Like-Writer-Guide-People/dp/0060777052/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1264158227&sr=8-3

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    Thanks, Amanda, for your encouragement & the book recommendation. Looking forward to checking it out.

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