So, continuing the idea of posting scraps of my own writing, I’ve decided to make a few rules for myself. I’m really bad about getting myself to write but I’ve noticed that if I give myself small rules, it does help. I mean the whole reason why I haven’t even given up on blogging yet is because when I first actively started doing this, the one inflexible rule was that I had to have a post a week. If I didn’t blog consistently, then what would be the point of even having one? If I missed the deadline, I would have to make it up. &, so far, it’s helped. If I don’t get a post done in the right amount of time, I feel really guilty about it & it forces me to put something together, even if it’s a few days late.
I’m reading Rules of Thumb right now, an anthology of writing advice edited by Michael Martone & Susan Neville. If there is one thing that is consistent in each piece, it is the idea of getting into the habit of writing. This sounds obvious, I know, but the editors acknowledge that it is often a difficult thing to do:
Writers write. But writers more often than not are not writing. They are waiting to write, preparing to write, rehearsing, practicing, taking notes, outlining, reading. On top of the anxiety of writing (or not writing) is this other anxiety—that all the activities of the prelude, in reality, are not prelude at all, but a symphony of fiddling around, a divertimento of tuning up.
The essay then closes with a sentence I love, the idea that “[t]he rules aren’t so much a whip to abrade but an accelerator”. How often have I lashed at myself because I didn’t produce something note-perfect or even tolerably likeable? The probability of creating something you’d even be interested in working on probably goes down if you can’t invest the time to, y’know, actually create in the first place.
So, here are my rules then, my little pieces of accelerant. You don’t have to read them; you can skip to the next section if you want. Posting these publicly forces me to keep to them. . . as well as find ways to bend them.
Rules for Scraps:
- A scrap will be any completed writing exercise or funny idea I’ve wanted to try out. There are no finished or refined pieces. Editing will be for spelling, grammar & continuity. Scraps are just that: rough pieces of ideas.
- No non-fiction scraps will contain anyone I know without their awareness. No scraps will contain obvious portraits of people I know or any thought or emotion connected to that person that I wouldn’t say to their face. No gossiping, no petty bitching, no surprises.
- Scraps must be posted once a week. For every online scrap, there must be an equal scrap written in writing journal.