Writing an essay a day is an easy thing to do. Writing an interesting essay a day is not, at least not for me. The month of February was an excellent exercise in cutting the chaff from the wheat, and I’m glad that I did my essay-a-day project.
Observations that I’ve made about the past month’s worth of writing:
- I often did not know what I was going to write about until a few hours before I had to write it. This produced some pieces that were uninspiring to me, but also generated some of my favorite essays. As with fiction writing, sometimes you just have to trust the process.
- I have a tendency to pick theses that are too ambitious for short essays. Many times during February, I would be two or three thousands words deep into an essay and realize that it would require thousands more to properly address its thesis. I would then have to set that essay aside and think of something else to write that could be properly confined to 500-1,500 words.
- I didn’t anticipate so many pieces that were inspired by, or incorporated, music. My writing in the past hasn’t done this, but I’ve found it to be valuable to me (and hopefully anyone who reads the essays). I’m not exactly sure how I’ll incorporate music into future writing, but it’s exciting to have a new tool.
- I’ve always written consistently, almost daily. But the writing would be very short notes and to-do lists in one notebook or another. After this February, the notebooks will likely contain more essays. I find myself drifting into the David Sedaris pattern of writing, although I know he didn’t publicly post most of his notebook scribblings (I actually haven’t either—there are piles of filled notebooks in my room right now).
I think I’ll do another essay-a-day project later in the year, but definitely not before June. I have a book to finish writing.