My Life As Lucille - Finding Joy In The Writer's Journey

I started the #ROW80 writing challenge with a modest goal. Unlike other writing challenges I've attempted, ROW80 isn't a pass/fail type of challenge. In case you're wondering what the ROW80 challenge is, click on the icon at the bottom of this post for more on what it is and how you can join us.

If you are new here, welcome! I’m so glad you came! Read more about me and what I write about HERE.

I mentioned last week that my family has some seriously suck-ish shit going on right now. I've been spending my time writing about it and have logged just under six hours on my ROW80 goal this past week. So far, I haven't been able to write anything I'm ready to share yet. I want to make sure that the words I publish are the "just-right-words" to do the topic justice.

That said, I have spent my writing time this past week journaling and reflecting on both craft and content. I've realized that my writing needs much more time to develop than I have habitually allowed most times. My words and reflections need to be cultivated and tended to with far more care than they have been given.

Fortunately, I am a strong writer and have been for as long as I can remember. I’m able to pull off a decent piece of writing in a single draft. Consequently, I have developed a poor habit of publishing at first draft just to cross it off my list. In an attempt to get something published, anything, I have neglected to let the ideas settle into the draft and simmer. Often times, I have worried if I didn't hit the PUBLISH button, my words wouldn't ever be said. The ideas would sit unfinished, much like the attempted projects around the house staring defiantly back at me as if to say, "Here is yet another example of your unfinished business."

For me, writing has really been more of a hobby and an outlet for reflection than it has been a business or career opportunity. Don’t get me wrong, I have cashed many checks and received numerous perks (including an upcoming trip to Disney) from various sponsors via My Life As Lucille. But I rarely take my writing truly seriously or consider it professional in a way like so many of my peers do. Which is why, I suppose, I haven’t attended to the development of my everyday writing nearly as much as I have to the pieces that have been syndicated, featured, and published in print elsewhere.

In July of 2014, I sat starstruck as the Bloggess spoke from stage at #BlogHer14. I have immense admiration for Jenny Lawson, as a person as well as for a writer. Her strength for speaking up in spite of crippling anxiety, her compassion and heart, her unapologetic style of writing, and her incredible sense of humor are only a few of the qualities that make her presence contagious and also make her a target for stalkers and fangirls. She is, in my opinion, unrivaled as a modern memoirist and storyteller. (By the way, memoirist is totally a real word. I looked it up on Wikipedia. So there.

Jenny Lawson - a.k.a. The Bloggess

Jenny spoke to the attendees at BlogHer in sunny Slaughterville San Jose, describing her personal writing process. She discussed her process of writing about topics, both delicate and humorous. She recounted her routine of reading and rereading her posts, before asking a friend to read it, then finally publishing or putting it to rest. I sat in the audience feeling somewhat ashamed of myself in comparison. 

The ROW80 challenge grows and changes with me as a writer. Twice a week, I visit the other participants and grow as a writer. My goals are fluid, not finite. This week, I resolve to go back to my numerous, neglected drafts and breathe life into them once again. I resolve to revisit my previously published pieces, tending to them with time and care.

In addition to my time-spent-writing goal, this is a habit I am committing to focus on much more going forward than I have in the past. I am fortunate to be a strong writer. This is a gift that I have taken for granted at times. I have published writing that was sound. My words were well-written. My messages resonated. Only I haven't consistently been giving my stories or my readers the respect and care they deserved. I haven't treated my writing as serious as if my paycheck or professional career depended on it. And that is what separates writers like me from the Jenny Lawsons of the writing world.

This week, I am reminded of my need to slow down and appreciate the process of thoughtfully crafting my words. I am reminded of the pleasure in mindfully, slowly curating my words as much as the gratification I feel when a piece of writing has gone public. My best writing is not been forcibly published in an attempt to meet a quota; rather it was thoughtfully penned and nurtured over time, to take its first breath only when it is ready to do so.

I hope you’ll come back again soon. Or better yet, subscribe to my posts by email or by your favorite social network. I promise never to give out your contact information and I won’t spam up your inbox. Promise.

If you are a writer, join the ROW80 writing challenge with me. The community of writers is incredibly supportive and encouraging.


If you are a writer, join the ROW80 writing challenge with me. 

1 comment:

  1. I definitely need to allow my stories to reveal themselves to me. That's the part of the revising process that I enjoy the most, those moments when I discover something new about my world or my characters, when I can see just a little bit further into the story.

    I'm glad you've joined the ROW80 challenge. I've been participating since last year and I've met so many wonderful people. It's a great community, and you can set your own goals and modify them as needed. Best of luck!


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