A few weeks ago I mentioned I had signed up for Project 52 — an effort to produce one article per week. I’ve found that it’s not going as I expected; it’s not that I don’t want to write the content, but the schedule of one post per week is just not working for me.
Writing when you feel like it
This may come as surprise, since I’ve been dutifully posting one post per week, haven’t failed a single week and have 3 other posts for the upcoming weeks already finished. But I feel the writing process shouldn’t be forced or constrained. I want to write when I’m in the mood for it, and I want to make the posts live immediately, before I regret anything I’ve written (which sometimes happens and posts are thrown in the trash).
Yesterday I stumbled across a post by Jeffrey Zeldman, “Write when inspired”, where he expresses the exact same feelings I have with regards to writing:
You are writing for readers, a duty as sacred, in its way, as parenting. (…) The world is already choking on half-considered, squeezed-out shit. There’s no need to add to the pile.
If you want to be great, or at least to be better, start by breathing, taking breaks, and working intensely when the mood is on.
I agree. I don’t want to write something because I have to, I want to write because I want to write. And I’m concerned that lots of “half-considered, squeezed-out shit” is going to be published because people feel they absolutely “have to”.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for people practicing the art of writing; it forces you to organise your thoughts, to make sense of what’s going on in your head. But not when you are not in the mood.
Too many ideas
My biggest problem with writing is that I have too many ideas in the pipeline — I feel I should be writing at all times.
By observing what goes on around me in a sort of analytical (some would probably say cold and indifferent…) way, it’s very easy for ideas to keep popping into my head. Sometimes I’ll leave those ideas for a while, until when I feel more comfortable or have the time to make them into a post; but other times I need to write them down right there and then.
That’s been happening quite frequently lately, and it happens more often with non-technical posts, with posts that may incite more discussion than actually provide an answer to a question. These types of posts are usually written in one go; there is no need for technical revisions — ideas are much more subjective, I can say whatever I want (sort of).
Not really quitting…
So I won’t actually “quit” Project 52, but I’ll do it on my own terms. Hopefully, by the end of the year, I’ll have around 52 posts published during 2010, but I may have published 3 articles in a week and then nothing for 2 months, if I didn’t feel like it.
I didn’t forget your suggestions for future posts, and I’ll make my best to make those posts happen, so thank you for sending those in.
Thank you for reading.