So, as posted yesterday, I am renewing my commitment to writing and posting. And, despite finding the turning of every little thing into a #challenge on social media irksome, I’m calling this the Publish Everything Challenge because I really do need to push myself more on this front. Not just with doing the work itself, but with putting it where it can be read and becoming more comfortable with being seen, read, judged, critiqued, and complimented (the last of these being the most difficult to handle of all…).
To make sure that I really will challenge myself here, I have come up with a system that won’t allow me to shy away from what I post. Asking others to help me decide what to publish is not an option – too many loved ones have already endured enough broken toes from having to repeatedly kick me on the backside (caringly but firmly) in the name of getting me past my confidence barriers to ask them to be my driver for this project. But I am far too much of a ditherer, too, so fate is going to have to decide for me.
How? Well, last night, I sat at my desk, grabbed a load of scrap paper, and cut it into small slips. Then I wrote out the title of every single poem I could find on my laptop and in my notebooks onto the slips and put them into an envelope (well, one of those old CD wallets made of clear plastic), so that I can pull out a slip each day to tell me what to post. That way, I won’t get bogged down with having to make decisions about what is and isn’t good enough, suitable, etc. The slip will decide what goes on the website – however I feel about the piece. Even if it shoves me deep into my discomfort zone, I will have to go along with it. Or, if I don’t, I will need a really good reason for not doing so. And I will have to account for it in some way. (Maybe not by writing about it here every single time, but with a summary piece every so often.)
Naturally, I was put in that very predicament right away today, because the first slip that I pulled out of the envelope happened to be a poem that I wrote for someone. Although I am the author, I see the words as belonging to them now, so it feels like the poem isn’t mine to share. I’m not sure if you would see that as a reasonable justification to discount the slip, but discount it I did.
Then, of course, slip number two took me straight into the discomfort zone. Fun Fact is one of those pieces that makes me worry about how readers might perceive me. The thing is, some of my writing comes from my experiences, some of it comes from my imagination (a poem written from the perspective of a character from one of my stories, for example), and some of it comes from other sources of inspiration. But, whatever the origin of my work, it is often writing in way that appears very personal, which leaves me feeling a little vulnerable.
This has given rise to the temptation to include a disclaimer with the poem, to distance myself from the subject matter or sentiment in some way. But this issue is going to come up a lot, so if I plaster one on this piece, I will have to do that for everything I post (and give away those that are factual through the absence of a disclaimer…), which just feels like the wrong thing to do. So, I am going to post everything as it is – no disclaimers, no distancing. If there is a story behind the piece, I will share it, just as I do with other posts. But other than that, I will let it stand alone, and let readers interpret it however they want. If nothing else, it will be fun to leave everyone guessing!
Anyway, back to the Envelope of Doom – I mean, Envelope of Direction. I ended up with around 180 slips of paper in that thing. I had no idea that I had accumulated that many pieces over the years as they are written or saved in different places. And those are just the poems! I haven’t gone into the stories, the reflections, and the ideas files. At least I have plenty to keep this going for a while. And, hopefully, growing too, as I intend to add further slips into the mix whenever I write anything new.
So, without further ago, I suppose it is time to declare the Publish Everything Challenge officially underway. Poem number one will follow soon. Enjoy!
Peace and blessings,