The wonderful crew over at Support Driven are hosting a Challenge this month, and anyone who knows anything about me also knows that's one thing that I can't resist.
"What's the challenge?" You're probably thinking. "How can I get involved?" The challenge is very simple: just write everyday. You can read a bit more, if you're really into specifics, here; but, I promise you: that's all it is. Write a sentence, write a paragraph, write a novel, as long as you are writing something every day for the month of October, that's it. Bonus points if you share it in the Support Driven #draft channel.
In the spirit of beginning this challenge, I tried to reflect on what "challenge" meant to me. I instantly was reminded of Gregory Ciotti's post on the Help Scout blog: "If You Aren’t Cringing, You Aren’t Improving."
I am intimidated by challenges like this, only because I know that writing is one of my Things. I've studied it for years, reading over books upon books of how to do it better, scrutinizing the craft of those around me, even of myself. I paid $75k just for the permission to write and critique and learn with a group of other amazing writers for three years, and was lucky enough to walk out of it with a Masters and a manuscript worthy of publishing.
But I still wouldn't call myself a "writer," though I would like to. I write support documentation and emails. I write blogs and jokes. I wrote a book, and in a journal, and poems every day; but I'm still not a writer. Why? Because I cringe. This is why I am afraid. Not of being able to complete the challenge, but of writing something every day and putting it out for the world (okay, well, #draft) to see. Because I know that there is no way I will be able to find enough time in my already threadbare days to write something worth reading.
But the cringe isn't always the worst, as Gregory poignantly writes, "You should only be worried if you don't feel the cringe." And so I'm here. Rambling about fears both unfounded and intensely personal.
Sometimes, sitting in the discomfort of knowing that you could do better is better than doing the best of all time—after all, where can you go when you're already at the top?
So, here's to a month of feeling the cringe, even if it is immediately after publishing and not decades later. Furthermore, here's to sharing that cringe with others and further developing a thriving community of feedback, support and camaraderie.
If you are not already a member of the Support Driven community, head on over to their site and get involved.