Friday, October 6, 2017

Writing about Writing Intro :: Write 31 Days

Photo credit: Dan Dimmock  @dandimmick

Last night I came across the Write 31 Days Challenge  (#write31days). It's not that I enjoy challenges so much as it is that I love to write. I guess that in my mind writing is another way of talking, but with some thought put into it. 

The way Write 31 Days works is that the blogger chooses one topic and writes about that topic for, you guessed it, @31days. I've had a whole 12 hours to think about my topic. I've spent nine of those hours sleeping and some hours reading blogs, ideas and lists. Of course, there was some brainstorming. And, since a friend came by, I enjoyed a good bit of visiting. I assure you, there was a great deal of overlap in all those activities. 

Like most writers, my brain can think and brainstorm while I'm doing other things. Ever have a great idea in the shower? That's what happens, right in the shower with shampoo in your hair and eyes, your brain just magically thinks, "Oh hey, I can do this and...." Poof, there's a great idea going off inside your head. Just like your computer is doing all manner of things that you don't see (unless you dig really deeply in those closets behind musty doors), the work that is happening is important and deep and necessary. 

I may not have had shampoo in my eyes, but I did have an "Oh hey" moment. Originally I thought I'd write about writing and do some brainstorming for bloggers. You know, write lists of some of the things that bloggers can write about. But a bit of research (and it didn't take much) informed me that those lists have been done. They are everywhere I looked: Pinterest, Write 31 Days, How To columns, Twitter, just everywhere. Of course, that wouldn't do. 

But I also noticed that the lists have one thing in common: most are simply just a list. Some have a little explanation or blurb that is meant to help, but I did not see one list that goes further than, well, the list. So that's my Write 31 Days goal. I'll take ideas from lists, both others' lists and a few of my own, and unpack the idea. Drill down into the meaning and the hows and whys of the idea. I'll give examples at times and, should someone ask a question, I'll do my best to give a clear, deeply thought out answer.

In other words, I'll write about writing. The technical term for this is "metawriting," meaning that the writer goes beyond the actual words on the paper. Gleaning out more than what those words say or mean. You ask yourself some pretty tough questions and answer with one goal: to find what is good or not-so-good. We'll talk more about this metawriting business later.

I wonder if you're asking yourself what gives me the expertise to open this Pandora's box. Actually, it's what I've done for the last 28 years. Teaching English requires a bit of teaching writing, but I'm a different kind of teacher--I use writing to teach English. I know, it seems backwards. I'd send you away with all kinds of pedagogical research, but where's the fun? Even I have to push myself through those and, well anyway... Instead I'll just say, "Trust me" and, if you do trust me, you'll come to understand why writing is the perfect vehicle for teaching many subjects, including English and including writing itself. Have you chased your tail, yet? It seem that we're talking in circles here, but it will make more sense when we get down to business. 

If all goes as planned, I'll continue some of my regular posts, such as Sunday Quilt Inspiration and Pin It Weekly. Then on the other days post my @31days article. Anything that needs posting (let's hope I can still quilt) may get a brief post in between. Will I get all 31 posts written? It could go either way. We'll see. For now, my brain is still burning fuel, so I'm going to get back to those lists.


Karen S said...

Sounds like this is right up your alley. Have fun and good luck!

Kaja said...

What an excellent idea. You write so well, Mary, that I can't wait to see what you make of this.

Mary Marcotte said...

Karen and Kaja, my bleacher section! I can always count on you to cheer me on. I actually am enjoying writing so much that I've gotten ahead by a few posts and scheduled them. Ha! I guess that English degree is working overtime.