Are You Saying Something or Just Spewing Words?

About a week ago I committed to writing at least 365 pieces of meaningful content for this site by the beginning of 2019. One article per day, where at least one hundred of the articles have more than five hundred words (which sounds loftier than it is – I can’t seem to write a grocery list with fewer than five hundred words).

To bolster my resolve to accomplish my production goal I joined a Facebook group called My500Words. The commitment is simple. Five hundred words, every day. No excuses.

A week into this journey I find myself starting articles only to delete them after about a hundred words. Article ideas I thought had some merit drag out and fail to come into focus. It’s nerve-wracking. Worse, it’s unproductive.

When I caught myself zoning out on my last article attempt and reaching for the delete button, I analyzed what I had written. Sometimes I think we trash our work too soon, judging it more harshly than it actually deserves. So I read the first paragraph. It was not my best work, but it didn’t completely suck. The second paragraph, however, sucked. The whole piece went into the trash. So much for giving the work a second chance, right?

The trashing of the sub-par work is not the real problem. The real issue is foisting poor work on an unsuspecting public because we are overeager to produce. I believe I was spewing words for the sake of getting my five hundred words done. The electronically crumpled first pass at my worthless article is the proof of this.

Recognizing I was in a quality slump made me paranoid. I re-read every post on my blog to try to detect the same apathetic approach to the work I had completed and published. I’m thankful to say I did not find anything I am ashamed to have published, though some articles were definitely better than others.

That said, I’m now very wary while I write. I pay close attention to how I am feeling about my work. If I feel no passion for the work I’m producing, it’s likely the reader will also be similarly unmoved. In my opinion, it’s the kiss of death to the work in progress.

I try, with everything I write, to make certain I am saying something worth saying – or at the very least, something I believe is worth saying (there’s a difference). To do otherwise is intellectually dishonest and a complete waste of both my reader’s and my time. It’s rude and unprofessional.

Learn from my mistake. Define for yourself what the goal is you are trying to accomplish with your writing before you start. If you can’t clearly articulate what it is you are trying to communicate to your reader and its importance, maybe you should re-think writing it.

It should also be noted that every article you write does not need to be your magnum opus. Just make sure there’s a reason you’re writing.

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