750 unfiltered, private, words a day. I was enticed by the challenge. I love independent goals. I like accomplishing things only to prove to myself I can. Running a half marathon this year was one of those challenges. Crossing that 21.1km finish line was a great feeling. But writing, writing means much more to me than running. I’ve never pictured “Jamie Delaine: Runner” as a chapter in my biography someday but I have pictured “Jamie Delaine: Writer.” If I spent months training as a runner, how much more should I be training as a writer?
I’ve heard it said “writing everyday will do for you what 100 writing conferences cannot.” Knowledge can only carry you so far. Nothing replaces hands-on-(the-keyboard) practice. I signed up. Everyday, I am writing 750 words. I might write about what God is teaching me. I might write about my emotions. I might write about the lady I saw at the gym last week, curling 5-pound dumbbells WHILE SHE TALKED ON THE PHONE. [Seriously. What? Why? Why are you here?] There’s freedom in this. I’m not writing for an audience. I’m not worried about “protecting my heart” and maintaining a tiny air (err? aura?) of mystery. It’s a journal with a word limit.
Let’s start there. I write for all to see. At first glance, it might seem like I blog [and tweet] everything. But of course, I don’t. Sometimes I wish I could share super-painfully-real-vulnerable details from my life. There are words hidden deep in my heart. [Your heart, too. Just FYI. You should try searching.] But paralysis sets in when I sit down to “write.” I think about my audience. I wonder “what will they think?” and “will they connect this example to this situation during that season of my life?” [Because really, that’s the part that scares me. The real-life-people-I-know reading my heart. The others? You can all go for it.] I question the “wise” way to write and the “wise” way to steward my circle of influence. Questioning aside, I know God has gifted me an audience for a reason. And the reason always needs to be His glory.
Maybe my collection of 750 daily, private words [with a little bit of filtering] will lead to something sharable. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll learn to stop biting my cuticles. Because they are disgusting. And if I’m going to be staring at my keyboard 750 words a day, it’s gotta stop.
[PS. This entry was written during my first day of the 750 words challenge. After typing free-form for 20 minutes, I revisited it a few days later. In 90 minutes, I edited out parts I didn’t want to share. I moved sentences around. I constructed something I’m happy to publish. 750 words is so cool. And having just finished Day 6 of the exercise, I’m still a fan.]