For years I mostly wrote daily. Sometimes the writing was for clients who paid me. I ghostwrote books, primarily in the business and self-help fields. I wrote books and pamphlets anonymously in the 12 Step field, and still earn small royalties for some of that work. I was hired to develop and run a newspaper for seniors and a magazine for the new thought movement. When blogging arrived I got paid to write in that sphere long before I really understood what blogging was. I developed some blogs of my own that provided income and a writing outlet that often led to other paid work. I mostly freelanced because I’m a great worker and not so good at being an employee.
Roughly three years ago I volunteered for a non-profit tech startup called Democracy Counts. The goal was and still is to create ways for regular people to perform independent audits of elections. I had no idea how important this notion would become to me. I did and do a lot of writing for that organization plus all sorts of other stuff. It, rather than writing became my focus. I had so much to learn! And I’ve loved every minute — well, almost every minute.
Shortly before the COVID19 pandemic struck, I lost most of my blogs — years of writing disappeared into cyberspace. Yes, I thought I was backed up; it turned out I was wrong.
Rather than spend money and time trying to recreate them I kept the domain names and let the content go. ‘After all,’ I reasoned, ‘I wrote all that stuff once, I can do it again.’ Like so many I went into lockdown. I never got around to recreating the old, lost stuff. Between the 2020 election and subsequent election issues, and the lockdown I lost the habit of writing regularly.
So here we are, late May of 2021. I still work with Democracy Counts. Recently I’ve begun to yearn to get back to my own writing and today is the day that for some reason I’ve started to write my own stuff again.
Here’s how I’ve done it (if I have)
First I sat down at the computer. I didn’t look at email or play a game of solitaire or balance my checkbook or any of the myriad of things I could have done. Instead, I opened my Medium account. My first thought was I could begin with one of the articles I’d started and never finished. Some of them are actually decent ideas, and none of them felt ‘right.’
I’m really leery of waiting for a muse or some idea that seems to come from the outside. That, for me, can become a roaring case of the writer’s block I really don’t believe in. Then I remembered what I almost always do when I feel stuck about writing. I write about what I’m feeling and experiencing right now on the topic I’ve chosen.
Taking this approach is a glorious hack. After all, I am my favorite subject. I love talking about myself. Fortunately I’ve written enough to be able to tap into a ‘right now’ moment I can write about that may actually be useful to a reader or two.
Will I write tomorrow? It feels like it but you and I will have to wait and see. No, I didn’t consciously try to work out a trick to bring you back, but since it happened I think I’ll leave it.
Write well and often,