For the past four weeks, I’ve been taking part in Writing 101, a free mini-course offered by WordPress. Every weekday, I got an email with a topic prompt and suggestions for stretching my writing style. All participants had access to a forum where we could share posts, explore others’ writing, and request and give feedback.
(If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, you can keep an eye out here for upcoming repeats of the course. In the meantime, all of the daily prompts are archived here for use whenever you like.)
I was a little hesitant about signing up for this. Would it take too much of my time or add an unnecessary level of stress? Would participating in a WordPress course be like adding a flashing red “n00b blogger” sign to the top of my page? Now that the course is drawing to a close, I can say that the answer to the last question is, “Probably not much more than anything else I do.”
Fortunately, the other worries, the ones about time and stress, turned out to be unfounded. Of course, I skipped a lot (more than half) of the assignments. Some days were too busy, some of my personal topics were too pressing, and some of the prompts required writing fiction, which isn’t the right genre for this blog. But that’s the beauty of an open course: nobody’s keeping track of what you get done. It’s all about what you get out of it.
What did I get out of it? Good reads, new blogs to follow, a bit of thoughtful feedback, and a bit of writing inspiration. However, the #1 benefit for me was the push to make a commitment to free writing. Not on my blog, but on my PhD thesis. Here’s what my office whiteboard has to say about that:
Pushing myself to just write something is proving to be a good plan of attack against the toddler in my head whining, “I don’t wanna write I don’t wanna write!” There are days when my output is mostly meandering junk, or when I seem to be repeating thoughts that I’ve already covered – but words on the page are a step beyond words in my head, so it’s progress. Some of that progress is real and measurable and awesome: I just sent a complete version of the Paper From Hell out to collaborators for feedback.
Here’s to reading and writing and moving forward!