Friday, November 30th was the concluding day for both Academic Writing Month and Digital Writing Month. For me it was thirty days of building writing habits, thinking and reading about writing, and exercising my academic and personal writing muscles. It was also thirty days of community. I sent tweets went into the ether and sometimes they were re-tweeted.
Did I meet all of my goals? Of course not. So what did I accomplish? I finished a first draft of an article I’ve been meaning to write for about a year. With a co-author I completed and submitted an article for review. (It will be published December 12th after review, revisions and edits.) I wrote approximately 7 hours a week (or more). This blog will somehow become an article, and my brain has welcomed several other ideas for future writing endeavors.
What I did not expect from this month is how much I have came to enjoy the quiet community of it. I knew all of this was organized through twitter, blogs, and other social media. I knew there would be tweetchats and hundreds of individuals doing this same thing–blogging the month. Even though my participation felt minimal and I was a stranger to these other academics and writers and they strangers to me (though I found my sister and a library colleague participating at the beginning of the month), I became attached. My morning routine, which has always involved a cup of coffee and the internet, incorporated checking the twitter streams for #acwrimo and #digiwrimo to find East coasters and Europeans and Australians who had been up and writing and tweeting for hours before me. My evenings became more solitary as I took to my office to write here and at my personal blog instead of going to happy hour or watching too much television or who knows what else.
And the pride I felt when someone from the community would re-tweet me! Maybe I AM good at this writing thing. Maybe THIS is what I need to nourish right now. Throughout the month there have been nuggets of discovery about my writing, my goals as an academic and myself as a person-who-loves-crafting-words-into-more. Of course these discoveries aren’t earth shattering. There was that poetry contest I won in the 4th grade. There are endless paper journals from my youth. There was LiveJournal in college and beyond.
And here’s how it ended. The final task assigned for Digital Writing Month was a twitter essay. I wrote:
Writing digitally occupies tenuous spaces between communicating & thinking; hearing & listening; & emerging as self #twitteressay #digiwrimo
I’ve emerged less tentative, stronger in my convictions. I have a renewed sense of how much I value the act of construction words into sentences into paragraphs that mean something. I know more than ever that I want to be, in addition to all that I already am, a Writer.