The 30-Day Writing & Publishing Project, Day 1: Commit

Commit

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I’ve probably read the book Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously at least 10 times.

There are many reasons for this:

I love the story of how Julie Powell blogged her way to a different life – from boring job as a government secretary to full-fledged national best-selling author after “The Julie/Julia Project,” her blog documenting her year of cooking her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, blew up.

I love her sense of humor; reading her book always makes me feel better if I’m in a foul mood, even when I’m not at all interested in laughing.

I love that she was an ordinary person who decided to do something rather extraordinary, and created a wonderful new career out of it.

But I think most of all, I love it because it’s the story of someone deciding to commit to something daunting – whipping up French food every night for a year, and getting up in the wee hours to write about it each morning before hauling herself off to a soul-sucking job – and seeing it through, even when it was hard, even when it would have been easier quit and go back to sleeping an extra hour each day. (I don’t think I would have lasted 3 days of her herculean project.)

And each time I re-read the book, as I’m doing now, I get a hankering to do a “project” of my own. I want desperately to find something I can commit to doing and writing about, and actually see through, just to prove to myself that I can.

This urge is powerful. I’ll wake up each morning while re-reading the book and brainstorm ideas for something similar I could do. I’ll root around in my notes and scribblings, searching through every corner of my hard drive, seeking inspiration. I’ll write notes in my journal about it, I’ll open up a Word doc and start tippety tappety typing away, in an attempt to freewrite my way to a grand idea. I’ll do an Internet search for people doing similar projects of their own.

But over the years I’ve done the re-reading of the book and the brainstorming of the project ideas, I’ve never come up with anything I believe will hold my attention long enough to make a solid commitment to. And I’m not talking about for a year, mind you. No, I’m thinking more like 30 days. 

And so I ask myself, what does it say about me that I can’t find something interesting enough to commit to and write about for just 30 short days? I find this fact about myself disheartening.

(Also: I tried to do 30 straight days of blogging once before, and quit after, hmm, I believe it was 3 days. My excuse? I felt like I had no bandwidth to write my own stuff because of how much writing I was doing for my copywriting clients at the time. Could have gotten out of bed an hour earlier to make it happen, of course, but alas, did not.)

Anyhoo.

I’ve been thinking about it and thinking about it, and I have decided . . . . ta dah . . . that  every day for the next 30 days, starting today, I will publish a new blog post. My commitment is to write, just to write, no other conceit or “hook” necessary (unless I come up with something interesting), for my 30-Day Writing & Publishing Project.

It’s not enough to write every day, because I do that already, whether it’s sales-generating web copy for clients, my copywriting and marketing tips newsletter, guest posts on other sites, essays in my secret-hidden-away writing folder, or scrawlings in my journal. 

No, the key here to publish something new to this blog each day for 30 days. That is the success metric.

I have no idea what this will look like – the length of the posts, the topics, overarching themes or ideas I want to cover, whether the content will contain marketing and copywriting lessons, or be totally unrelated to those things, etc. But, to use some Oprah-speak I happen to love, “what I know for sure” is that if I wait around for an organizing principle, I will never get started.

So today I start; on Sunday August 16, I finish.

And so it is.