Twenty-six days, 24,483 words, 26 posts: art, music, mathematics (?!?), drama, popes, plagues, giant horse statues that don’t get built.
Looking back over the last 26 days, I see posts that I don’t even remember writing. There are at least two posts that nobody read, not because they’re bad, but sometimes these slip between the cracks. But the benefit–and curse–of the A to Z process is that you have to write every day (only four breaks) and you have to cover all the letters.
The discipline to write every day is intense. Actually, let me rephrase that to distinguish this from twitzing and ingramming and all that other stuff, which I don’t do. The discipline to write at least 500, semi-lucid words, in paragraph form with complete sentences and thoughts about a topic is intense. It requires planning and forethought, determination and a sense of urgency.
But if you want to write, as most of us know, you have to write. We all know the value of practice to learn an instrument or play a sport, but for some reason we expect to be able to sit down and have Oscar Wilde or Maya Angelou immediately spring from our fingers. The reason that this challenge is so beneficial is the requirement of the discipline. As stressful as some of those days end up being.
Overall, I generated about 75 pages of material. I can’t ever tell myself it’s too hard to write 50 pages in a month because… I already did it. I did aim for shorter posts, and sometimes I succeeded. (My Olympics posts run over 1500 words, typically.)
The most popular posts were about (Van) Eyck and Raphael. People do like art! And who doesn’t want to see more Raphael, even if he was a bit of a poser.
The first week of May I frequently mutter that I’m never doing that again. Then February rolls around, and I wonder if I can fit it in. That’s the thing about writing. It’s not really fun; it’s more an obsession. A challenge. A thing you have to do.
But I’m going to take a few weeks off to recover. So if you got behind, then go back and catch up.