|Taipei skyline (photo by Julie)|
I was at writer’s group this morning, and my friend Joyce asked me what I had learned through all the writing this past month. I didn’t answer her very coherently, but I will try to do so now.
I learned that I really don’t seem to have all that much to write about anything that exceeds 500 words. I know so many writers who just can’t keep their essays to under 2000 words. 2000!!! By 1200 words, I am padding my pieces with random verbal flotsam and jetsam. I make use of lots of extra verbiage to describe, for example, someone’s long, flowing brown hair. Her hair was flowing, like a river would flow, if a river were made of long, flowing brown hair. 15 extra words right there! A 2000 word assignment, for me, would be like Death by Thesaurus.
Another insight: I’m not big on polishing/editing. I say that with shame to Joyce, who is a great editor. But by the time I finish a post, and find photos to accompany it, I’m so done. The beauty part of a blog marathon? Unless you can afford to spend hours writing each day, speed is all. I will, of course, correct the most egregious flaws (what would I do without the squiggly red line that appears beneath my computer errors?), but a lot of other goofs just slide by.
Epiphany #3: I enjoyed titling my posts more than writing the posts themselves! I prided myself on clever names for my pieces. Imagine my chagrin when, in my personal essay class this summer, I was told to write simple and clear titles that would quickly tell the reader the subject of the essays. Where’s the fun in that? Sigh.
Finally, I learned that I am not the same writer on November 30th as I was at the launch of this blog-fest. I am becoming something else, hopefully something more. I was lucky enough to be at Michelle Obama’s book tour appearance last night. She talked about “becoming,” and said that as long as we live and breathe, we are always becoming something new (or should be). If “becoming” is inevitable, what (who) is it we want to become? Because we have choices. This month, I chose to exercise my writing muscles, and now I’ve become a writer with 30 new pieces under her belt.