New year's resolutions revisited

It used to be that I would enjoy writing out my new year’s resolutions. Thinking about what my year would be defined by and wordsmithing it on my blog. But that was when it was all about the excitement of where it would take me. A few years later and I’m weighed down by making promises to myself about getting to a predefined place. How utterly uninspiring.

Getting off my writer’s butt

It’s been over 6 years since I set up this blog. Longer since I wondered about this writing malarkey. For a while it was fun seeing where it would take me. A job where I got paid to write, blogging, writing music reviews and bursting on to the gig scene as twenty-something with the mindset of a 16-year-old. (The best way.)

Then it became a chore. I knew more so that meant I had to do more. Be better. Work out where it was going to take me, rather than just let it take me there. And it’s been a battle and a rough sea of peaks and troughs since then.

It’s obvious I still care otherwise I would have shut the website down and walked away from the lot. Or at least let it all gather dust in the corner. But I continued with reviews, I found courses, I read about writing. I kept looking for something that would get me back here because I still get that tingle on the inside from the writing.

Then thanks to Facebook’s advertising algorithm (which I would be loathed to praise in any other circumstance) I came across Writers’ HQ. And more specifically their C25K Words program.

Playing with myself

Steady on. It’s day 19 of the 28-day Couch to 5K Words program and today’s email was headed ‘Play with yourself’. Those clever peeps at Writers’ HQ asked me a clever little question:

Can you pinpoint a time when you found utter, uncomplicated joy in your writing?

The answer brought me back here. It was that first year blogging when I had no concerns about traffic or SEO. No thoughts of the editing process or writing longer-form content. None of those words that my day-job began to poison my mind with. Back before I worried about ‘optimising’ my posts.

This place was also built before I began to learn about the craft of writing. I say learn, you learn by doing. What I mean is before I started to study writing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been incredibly valuable to understand how structure and character work; the importance of situation and senses; and that all important “process”. But if you try and apply it all at once while you write, well, you never write.

So today I have gone back to that first blog post from November 2012 - over six years ago. That’s a long time when it comes to something you love. And I read my opening salvo:

Having recently read Getting Real by 37Signals, I realised there's no point worrying about writing the perfect first blog post because all that will happen is that there will never be one.  So, following my own principal that you should never keep your mouth shut about things that make you feel excited and loud, I am finally typing in my notebook.

Getting excited again

These subheadings are getting downright pornographic now. Nevertheless, excitement is what it’s all about. Taking what excites me and finding a way to absorb, process and disseminate it back out in a way that it might reach someone who wouldn’t have otherwise found that shard or shiver of joy. I still get excited. I still go to gigs, read books, contemplate art and spot the little oddities and idiosyncrasies of life that spin you off on to a thought train.

As I said in January 2013 (yes, that’s right, I’m quoting myself again in the same post):

If something is fascinating, exciting or spark-inducing then it should be shared so that others may experience that same feeling.

So, if you have an interest in writing and don’t mind a little irreverent swearing, head on over to Writers’ HQ, because they have got me excited this year. And if writing isn’t your bag, but art, coffee, music and utterly random thoughts about culture, life and humanity are, then stick around. Because I resolve to get very excited this year. And I’m going to be sharing it. Often.