100 Days of Writing

For the past four years, I’ve had these two things on top of my New Year’s Resolutions list:

  1. Write More
  2. Weigh Less

Well, I’ve been consistent with my resolutions, not as much with my efforts.

As 2015 kicked off, I saw someone start the #100DaysofHappinessChallenge or something of that sort on Facebook. I’d seen a lot of people post photos of cake and kittens and tag it with #100daysof Happiness-Day 99. I’ve also seen many people tag photos of flowers and sunsets with #XDaysofGratitudeChallenge-DayY. Which is well and good if it makes you happy and grateful for all things sweet and nice.  Being the gifted whiner and difficult person that I am, I could not imagine putting myself up to any such challenge. But I know that setting up such challenges and sharing them on public platforms are great motivators. My friend, Aditya, set himself a similar challenge (New Stories Five Days a Week) and produced a good amount of interesting fiction in that time. I realized I need to set myself some challenge if I were to ever meet any of my goals. So this year, I’ve decided to set myself such a dare- I call it the #100DaysOfWriting Challenge.  I think I can share my happiness and gratitude, my experiences and ideas, my stories and fancies by writing.

Why, you ask? Well, for starters I think it would make me a better person. There seems to be enough research that shows how writing can make you happier, smarter, sexier (kidding about that one! That one happens when you meet goal #2). I keep starting new blogs because I do love writing, but I never make any time to sit down and write. I wanted to write this post since noon today and finally got down it. Hopefully this exercise will help me resist the temptations of distraction and make time to something that I really value and enjoy.

When you’re on Facebook, Twitter and checking email 24X7, you are consuming information non-stop. When we’re not consuming information, we take irrelevant data sharing to new heights. I recently found this 2015 Reading Challenge which seems quite interesting and is a great way to push people to read. But what about producing? Are we creating as much as we are consuming? Are we spending as much time on writing as we do on reading or watching videos or viewing images?

The other big reason is to simply get better at writing. As part of my work, I see a lot of struggle when it comes to teaching writing to children. A part of it, in my opinion, is also related to the teacher’s skill and talent as a writer. We tweet, we share posts, we text and we send emails. We also maintain journals or diaries and take notes. But how often do we compose and craft deliberately? How often do we fret over our words and fuss over our sentences? How often do we set out to create a piece of writing that we can be proud of?  As I was writing this post and reviewing it, I could see how clunky my own writing has become. I’d like to get better at writing, so that one day I can actually be a writer.

So how will this 100 posts thing work?

Any post I write on any of my blogs, I will tag them with #100DaysOfWriting. I’d also love for others to join this and use this tag. It always helps to do such things with others so that you have some bit of healthy competition as well as feedback.

If I do the math, #100DaysOfWriting means that I write anywhere between 8-9 posts a month, which comes up to a 2-3 posts per week. If I behave, I might be able to keep that pace and post regularly. This should help in forming a habit over the long run as well. I’m setting some rules guidelines for myself so that I don’t cheat do this well:

  1. Write Slow. I must write only one post a day. I can’t reach December and do 3 posts a day to meet my goal. I need to write regularly and also give myself time. I need to plan my time out and enjoy the process of writing. Let the creative juices simmer and flow, instead of rushing to meet a deadline. I have enough deadlines at work, I don’t need to make this become a chore.
  2. Write Long. Whatever it written, must be a substantive piece of writing. Tweets and Facebook posts don’t count. There has to be some real effort into it. I don’t want to put a minimum word count limit, but I’d be ashamed if I wrote less than 300-400 words per piece. (At this point, this piece itself is about 706 words long and I’d like to keep such length!) It’s not that bigger is always better, but the way I enjoy #longreads, I must also attempt #longwrites.
  3. Write Different. I must write different things in different ways. To put it simply, I can’t just ramble and rant for 100 posts. I can’t do only haikus, or only fiction, or only reviews. I can’t keep sharing what I think about someone else’s writing for 50 posts nor can I masquerade sarcasm as satire for 20 posts. I should try new forms, be original and interesting. I know I tend to be whiny and ranty, so I also need to push myself to play nice for the most part.

That’s about it. 3 simple things to keep in mind while I write and to keep me anchored. This piece took me a good hour and bit of rush, but I feel it’s a decent start to #100DaysOfWriting. I hope on 31st December 2015, I can tell myself that I met this goal and set more ambitious goals for 2016.

Goodnight and good luck!