Hi, how are you? Do you have a minute? Well, when I say a minute I mean about five. I need to get something off my chest.
I have to be honest with you, (which, I understand, usually means the next words to be used are a bare-faced lie, but they aren’t honestly) I’ll lay my cards on table. I have a problem, well I have lots, but in order not to turn this new blog into a comfortable couch onto which I lazily recline, back of hand across forehead, eyes closed, dramatically divulging my deepest thoughts, I will generally try to stick to the one particular problem.
“I have a writing problem.”
There I said it, I feel better already, like an uncomfortable mumbled announcement, in an enforced upright position at a Writer’s Anonymous meeting.
“Hello everyone, I’m Cliff, I’m 37 years old and I have a writing problem.”
I’m trying to overcome it and apparently that involves having to write, which I have a problem with. It’s a vicious circle of a problem, actually more of an angry downward spiral of a problem, down which I seem to be descending fairly rapidly and dizzily.
My main issue is that I have a lot of thoughts in my head, and well, not a great deal of idea how to take them from my head and place them together in a fashion that can be understood. I have almost no clue where to begin when it comes to grammar and syntax (whatever that is), a rudimentary knowledge of tense, and a massive addiction (amongst other things) to parentheses. My basic style of writing has got me this far, I generally earn money writing technical documents and reports that are really just a load of carefully constructed informative statements collected together, and I can get away with a basic level of grammar. But when I try to write with a bit more meaning and from a more personal point of view I am afraid I am a revealed as a dreadful amateur. So I decided it was about time I did something about it. Considering the only grammar rule I ever learned during my brief time at school was “put a comma where you would take a breath” I feel that I am missing a lot of the necessary details, and pleasures of writing, to come across as even mildly competent.
A friend of mine, (let’s call him Ben Treverton) is the most amazing photographer, when I first met him he was (and I’m sure he will agree) fairly average. However, he set himself the target of becoming great, and embarked on a painful mission to take a ‘good’ photograph every day for a year. Something that he achieved, and something that proved invaluable to developing his skills as a photographer, I’ll share his site with you when I have his permission, he really is amazing. Anyway, his experiment stuck with me, and now, finding myself as a fairly average writer, I have decided to embark on a similar mission. With the help of this blog, (and a lot of internet research) I am going to attempt to teach myself the finer points of writing well, in the vain attempt that I might become a little better, or at least write in a more professional way. I have a way to go, but hey, a year is a long time.
I’m not suggesting for a minute that I am going to blog every day for the next twelve-months, that is madness. What I am going to attempt over the next 365 days is that I write for at least 10 minutes every day, and then publish a smattering of that writing once or twice a week. What that will look like I have no idea but I hope that in 52 weeks’ time, I’ll look back at this shambolic excuse for an introduction and hang my head in grammatically correct shame.
So the theory is, this self-imposed and now very publicly advertised goal will not only inspire me to write and publish a few (inspired?) words every week, (and hopefully a lot of those words will make it beyond the walls of the parenthesis) it might also help me overcome my fear of deadlines and complete inability to ever meet them, other than a last minute scrambling attempt to throw some words at a page to see what sticks before the bell goes. As the magnificent and sadly missed Douglas Adams once said, “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”
And where do you come into all this? Your mission (If you should decide to accept it) is to do nothing, just sit there. Assume a thoughtful, understanding position, one leg folded over the other at the knee, chin mindfully resting in one hand with the elbow in the other hand, nodding occasionally. You could even go as far to read some of my rambling poorly constructed prose, and grimace and wince at the mistakes and schoolboy errors, you might even suggest ways in which I can improve my words. Whatever, it’s an experiment in escapology, an attempt to break-free from the literary shackles of my incompetence. And you are most welcome to join me.
Anyway, that is enough to be going on with; I have laid myself open, under the microscope that is the blogosphere and I’m very intrigued as to where this will take me.