When I joined 200 Words a Day I honestly didn’t think I would have any trouble at all in coming up with things to write about and filling the quota of words. I had attempted to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) last November but found the daily word requirement outrageously ambitious for a complete beginner.
In comparison to NaNoWriMo the idea of writing just 200 words a day on absolutely any topic seemed absurdly easy and I arrogantly thought I would smash it without a second thought.
Yeah, I was so wrong.
I am a person who has quite a lot to say (sounds annoying, right?) well it’s not as bad as it sounds. I’m largely an introverted solitary figure, I like a lot of ‘alone’ time and I don’t have a plethora of friends, just a couple I’ve known practically my entire life. So I don’t actually ‘say’ a lot, but I ‘think’ a lot. I guess then I’m a person who has quite a lot to ‘think’. My mind is always overflowing with thoughts and ideas, not always helpful or useful ones I should add.
In my mind I thought this would translate really well to 200 Words a Day. I could use this space to write about some of the things I’ve thought about which have preoccupied me or resonated with me. I could use this as an opportunity to excise and exorcise some of those thoughts. Not all thoughts are created equally and some have a habit of wrestling their way deep inside of your brain and germinating there like so many unwanted weeds. Could I dig some of these up and examine them?
I was therefore fairly surprised and confused when I sat down on Day 1 and couldn’t think of a single thing to say. Literally, not a single thing. I turned a few ideas over in my mind but nothing struck me as worth while elaborating on and eventually I thrashed something out with great dissatisfaction.
I decided to write this unexpected difficulty off as a kind of understandable beginners hurdle and thought little more about it.
Day 2 arrived and as I sat before the expected blank screen and dancing cursor I realised quickly that once again I had nothing to say. My mind felt completely blank and unresponsive which again surprised me. On a side note it is actually surprising that I can still surprise myself, I thought I knew myself pretty well.
After much desperate searching through the archives of my mind I settled on something fairly simple that I had dealt with that very day. If you haven’t read my second post about phone anxiety (I don’t know why you would) then here is the TLDR version: I hate talking on the phone, had to make a difficult phone call, I prepared and it went ok (exciting stuff). This was quite a simple topic to write about, it was something very recent and fresh in my mind, it was something I could elaborate on easily and best of all it had a satisfying conclusion, my purpose was successfully achieved. However, when it came to actually committing something to paper or screen I found myself frozen above the keyboard once again.
Today I am wondering why it is that someone who has so many thoughts circulating their mind cannot find a way to translate them into words. Why is it that language sometimes feels so insufficient? Why am I finding 200 Words a Day so damn challenging?!
If you will permit me the space to attempt to answer my own questions I will endeavour to try.
Although I keep a diary which receives sporadic scribblings I am not in the habit of writing consistently on a daily basis. I imagine that once I have established daily writing as a habit and maintained it for a number of weeks or months I will begin to find the exercise easier.
Whenever I do write anything (e.g.: the diary) it is only for myself. Whatever I write will remain private. I cannot help but feel anxious about sharing anything I write; I am anxious about sharing any part of myself, however small with anyone other than the very few people I feel close to.
When I write only for me it is liberating because I don’t have to worry about content, spelling or grammar. It is less about ‘what’ I write and more about how the process of writing helps me to feel.
It is one thing to have a lot of ideas going through your mind but to catch hold of one and wrestle it down and render it communicable is a completely different ball game.
In conclusion this journey of completing 200 words a day has only just begun and already I am learning new things about myself and challenging myself to attempt something which surprisingly does not come easy to me at all. It is interesting that this entry about having nothing to write is my longest submission so far. Who knew that talking about nothing would take longer than talking about something?
Whoever is reading this, thank you and I hope to see you around.