Reflection

What am I taking with me from the #YourTurnChallenge?

Up until now I haven’t been following the challenge questions but today I am going to reflect. Self-reflection is an important part of life and I find that is a very useful way of consolidating lessons learned from experience. Having to have a finished piece of work to ‘ship’ every day for the past 6 days has been a challenge. It was probably easier for me than it was for most people as I am on leave at the moment and I have a lot of spare time but it was still no easy task. There are good and bad things about this exercise but I have found that it was a very rewarding and overall positive experience.

I wander around with a head full of ideas and often struggle to make myself sit down and actually write them out. This challenge worked well in giving me a good impetus to get started and allowed me to get those ideas out that have been going round in my head for ages. Emptying my mind in this way allowed room for new and fresh ideas to form and they have been coming in thick and fast. I don’t think I have ever felt creative energy quite like this before.

As well as being a great way to get started, the challenge was also really good for finishing. I am usually quite good at getting started but I am also liable to get halfway through a piece and then get another idea and start something else or wander off and have a nap. Having a deadline meant that when I started to get distracted I had to pull my self back on task and commit to finishing.

The community of like-minded people to share this challenge with was a mixed blessing. On the one hand it is encouraging to know that people are going through the same thing as me. It is great to know that other people are reading my work and enjoying it. Having the opportunity to be exposed to so much writing by other people was inspiring and I have connected with some really interesting people. It also, however, led to lots of time spent obsessively refreshing my word press and twitter feeds. Putting your work out there can be a little bit scary and I think that I put way too much stock in what other people think. Whilst I am at the stage where my work has a relatively small reach and the comments are all supportive and helpful this is not a problem. The problem will come when someone disagrees with me, says something discouraging, or I get trolled.

There are down sides to shipping every day. I have a lot of things that I want to write that are simply too long, too intricate or too difficult to manage to get into a state that is acceptable for presenting online. I also found that my efforts to produce something every single day meant that I didn’t have as much time, or at least as much energy to put into the longer and more involved things that I want to work on. This challenge sapped quite a bit of my creativity every day.

At the end of this week I find myself hooked into some useful writing networks and connected with some inspiring and interesting people. I am heartened by the kind words of other bloggers through comments and on twitter. I know now that if I need to I can produce higher quantities of work than I have before and I can do this on a daily basis. I am inspired and prepared to work hard to create exciting things in the future!

 

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Volume Verses Originality

I have realised in my attempt to complete the #YourTurnChallenge this week that I am quite hung up on originality, and I am sure that I am not alone in this. Once I see my opinion expressed somewhere else I hesitate to write about it. It feels pointless to articulate something I know someone else has already said. Recently, though, I am finding reason to change my mind and add my voice to the mix.

The Internet is a vast place. One person’s voice may get lost amongst the catacombs of porn and click bait. Even if that voice gets hosted on a popular news site or trends on twitter. When it comes to the kind of social change needed to stop misogyny, transphobia or racism we need to be hearing so many voices that change becomes inevitable. We need the right message to be everywhere, impossible to miss. This is what I mean by volume.

This goes for almost all issues of social change. One person saying something, regardless of how many people agree, doesn’t have the same impact as large numbers of people saying that thing. Mass consensus will cause people to look at an idea twice. If a message is popping up everywhere people who previously wouldn’t have considered it are more likely to investigate.

With that thought in mind I am going to raise my voice to join the clamour.

A Creative Enema

An excellent combination of events has led to this week being probably my most productive blogging and writing week yet.

Firstly I was fortunate in that this weekend I was able to attend Catherine Deveny’s “Gunnas Writing Masterclass” that is designed to give participants the ‘creative enema’ they need to kick start their writing. Whether it be poems, novels, fiction, non-fiction, blogs, a youtube series or song writing, this masterclass certainly achieves it’s intentions. Not just for beginners, this course would suit you if you are a professional as well. It is not about how to write, or even what to write. Instead it provides a huge, and only somewhat metaphorical kick up the ass to get you headed in the direction you want to be going.

As Catherine explains, writers, whether famous or not, are all plagued by the same three things.

1) Procrastination

2) Thinking that our work isn’t any good

and

3) Worrying about what other people think.

Catherine tackles all of these in between coffee, delicious food and a considerable amount of delightful profanity. I walked out of the stylish La Luna Bistro in Carlton filled with energy, cake and enthusiasm to get started. I think I have been long plagued with Imposter Syndrome, however by the time I arrived home after the class I slowly started to realise that people like me can write books. One of the pieces of advice that eased my mind most was that you don’t have to be anything in particular to be a great author or write a book. You don’t have to have read thousands of books, you don’t have to have been winning writing competitions since you were ten and you don’t have to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of famous writers throughout history.

This bulletproof feeling has been very nicely timed to coincide with the #YourTurnChallenge, run by Winnie Kao and Seth Godin. Challengers have to ‘ship’ every day for seven days, specifically a blog post. You submit them to the challenge tumblr account and the idea is that you get started, get out of your comfort zone and that the community supports each other to stick to the challenge. For more details click the YourTurnChallenge hash tag above.

I am going to post my writing here as well. Hope to see you getting involved.