300 Words for Today

“Writing is easy. You only need to stare at a blank piece of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.”

Gene Fowler

Installing WordPress and starting a blog is easy; keeping it going is another thing.

People often think of creativity as something that just happens; a writer or artist is just regularly inspired to do great things and they use their special talent to make great works spring whole from paper or stone or whatever other kind of canvas they use. This is generally wrong.

To be creative is to create. Creativity is work and it starts by showing up every day and creating something. Some days, it’s hard as hell. It’s easy to say “Well, I have other things to do today and can’t really think of anything I want to say right now so I’ll do it tomorrow.” Do this too much and tomorrow stops coming.

Image by www_slon_pics from Pixabay

Creativity is also a muscle and needs to be used if it’s to remain strong and supple. Years ago, I participated in an early online humor forum called the Internet Oracle where users would trade offbeat questions and come up with funny answers to them, often involving rhymes and references to literature and pop culture. The best answers would be put into a digest. It wasn’t easy at first, especially since there was an implied expectation to come up with something really good. In fact, the expectation wasn’t really there because it was, after all, free. The worst that would happen was that you wouldn’t get into the Digest and that was the norm anyway. When one of my answers did make it, though, that was a good day.

The thing is, I don’t even remember that answer or the question that inspired it. I used to have a page on my site of what I thought were my best Oracularities and I’m sure it was there but that’s long gone. What I do remember is the way my brain worked then. After the first few submissions, I noticed that it got easier to come up with answers and that my mind was just naturally more responsive. I made connections I wouldn’t have made otherwise and was surprised by how the words flowed from my keyboard. I even came up with some small poems where the rhymes just seemed to click into place. I traded e-mails with a friend at that time and some of the humor made its way into those. We had a blast.

Of course, I moved on and other priorities intervened. I’ve had other creative spurts over the years but I’ll always regret the amount of non-creative time I’ve allowed to accrue.

I tried setting up a new creative blog early in April and there were a bunch of ideas flitting around in my mind about entries I wanted to make. Then most of them seemed to go away for an early weekend when it came time to actually writing something. Ideas are fickle like that. Creators can’t be. Ultimately, I realized that the new blog itself got in the way of actually being creative. The need to supply the blog with content became more important than simply creating something.

I use Yoast SEO to make this blog a little more Google-friendly. Its fussiness and myriad rules for readability and ranking drive me insane, no matter how correct it might be. One rule I have taken to heart over the years is that blog posts require a minimum of 300 words to be effective on Google. It seems to me that committing to writing at least 300 words a day is also a decent way to keep those creative fires burning. I’ve already written about twice that in this sitting and I haven’t even broken a sweat.

Of course, that doesn’t exempt me from writing 300 more tomorrow or creating the equivalent in some form. Let’s see if I can keep doing it.