30 Things About 30 Posts in 30 Days (30/30)

I wrote 30 posts in 30 days. This is the last one.

1. The quality control definitely went straight to shit; some of my posts were quite bad.

2. And people definitely got sick of me—engagement from some regular users dropped considerably.

3. But others cheered me on, brought me cake, invited me to secret societies, wrote sonnets, sent me the entrails of sacrificial animals.

4. Some of the pieces were surprisingly good, I thought, too, containing ideas that I would've squelched had I more time to subject them to my normal levels of scrutiny.

5. It was also so fucking scary—I don't usually have anxiety about writing anymore, or not much, but this month was a time of roiling jitters, constant trembling.

7. It was so scary not because of the writing itself, but rather because I didn't have time to strategize, to pout, to make sure the things I was writing befit some image of myself that I carry in my heart.

8. I know you shouldn't worry about this, but there's knowing and there's knowing.

9. This is an important lesson that the fear of self-expression isn't one thing, it's a cluster of related fears, and you can publish a book containing highly compromising personal details, as I did, but still have many anxieties lingering in the shadows.

10. After going through the fears I have in the past month, though, I have even less writing anxiety than I did before; this was serious exposure therapy and worth it for that alone.

11. I am now, more than ever before, a dead-eyed word-machine, advancing through the world vomiting paragraphs without a thought to posterity.

12. Also I have much less concern over what I'll be writing about in the future, I no longer care, I have thoroughly experienced the fact that it doesn't fucking matter.

13. Also, whereas it's usually somewhat easy for me to start hitting the keyboard, during the 30 day period I was required to do it at the drop of a sandwich, whenever wherever, and this became easier and easier, and I hope that benefit persists.

14. My audience grew, I accrued new clients and new opportunities, and this is probably not a coincidence—simply putting out kinetic energy has its benefits.

15. But it's not like it wasn't a painful chore at times.

16. Around day 26 I started regarding the task ruefully.

17. At the beginning I had a routine ironed out, I'd always be drafting a new piece in the morning, and then I’d refining that one in the evening and jot down the beginnings of a new piece before going to sleep.

18. Then the routine fell apart completely, life intruded, I started having to bang them out in the middle of the night, or between calls, or in twenty minutes after rising before the day fell upon me.

19. The version of this Dickie Bush advocates is one where you write painless atomic essays that are between 250-350 words of length; for me this would've been much less beneficial.

20. Although I'm sure that's of benefit to many, his program seems to have positive testimonials—more important to write than to worry too much about the benefits.

21. However, for me, it mattered that they were varying lengths, varying subject matters, varying seriousness, varying personal investment—that unpredictability was part of what made it emotionally challenging.

23. Sometimes it was genuinely difficult, sometimes I ejected pieces with all the effort of yawning, and I couldn't predict which was which on any given day.

24. At times it felt kind of obnoxious and gimmicky and stuntish to advertise such an artificial writing project/constraint.

25. Doing something an artificial number of times has benefits, but there's no getting away from the fact that it's artificial.

26. Doing something an artificial number of times has benefits, but there's no getting away from the fact that it's artificial.

27. Overall I'd say it was a really worthwhile exercise, and, also, I'm glad it's behind me.

28. I'd recommend it to many people, but not necessarily as a way of generating excellent work—it's more of a therapeutic exercise than anything else.

29. There are heights of expression, definitely, that can only be reached with some degree of care, spontaneity matched with sobriety—and I never got there during this month.

30. But the perfect writing production function has to include days when you're a fucking maniac, playful and vengeful, caring neither for the hoi polloi nor the delicate tastes of the aristocracy, and becoming more acquainted with that mode is worthwhile.

31. See you later.