October Writing Challenge
There are always these month-based things floating around cyberspace: Movember, Meatless January, 30-days this-and-that challenge.
Inspired and intrigued by some of them, I thought to launch my own little challenge, pushing myself that little bit extra: on top of my regular writings — those I do at least partly to make a living — I will write something on Medium every single day. Injecting some personalised energy into this fledgling blog-like outlet that I still haven’t quite figured out what it’s for.
Through good and bad, on topics high and low, come hell or high water (as I’m in Iceland, most likely just rain), I will write something. It doesn’t have to be my best writing ever, it doesn’t have to be wonderfully profound — it just has to be. This is an output challenge, a writing practice, an attempt to keep myself honest and to provide an outlet for many things I’m thinking about that don’t quite make it into my regular writing.
Every journey starts with a tiny, hesitant step. Reflecting on all the writing I’ve ever done — from childhood story writing, to high school novels, to dismal poetry in fits of inspiration that I can’t account for, to personalised blogging and professional academic debates — it’s been clear to me that writing always mattered to me. That, in hindsight, it’s not a surprise that I ended up where I am, eking out a living by crafting words.
It took me a long time to learn that the format wasn’t enough. That knowing nice words and how they fit together didn’t quite cut it. You also need something substantive to say, which for the first few years of my writing career I’m not sure I had. In that sense, I started at the wrong end — learning how to write before having something interesting to say. Cart before the horse.
JP always says that he structures his lectures around a central problem, an issue he’s trying to solve, work out, or at least give a sensible answer to. He advises writers and especially students to do the same thing: don’t mechanically write an essay on an assigned topic — write about what inspires you, about what you’re interested in, and what you think is worth writing about.
So that’s where we are. I’ll update this post to keep a record of the articles and a neat overview of my progress. Enjoy the journey!
October 1: What I Love About Reykjavík
October 2: On Quacks and Pseudoscience
October 3: To Align or Not To Align
October 4: Confessions of a Slowpoke: The Virtues of Slowing Down
October 5: What I Learned From a Bad Polish Singer
October 6: The Power of Journeys: Ice and Forests
October 7: Why I Leave My Valuables In the Open
October 8: “You Go and Tell ’em:” A Guide for Sexists, Racists, and Those Who Don’t Like What Others Think
October 9: The Virtues of Leaving People Alone
October 10: Too Much of a Good Thing Can Kill You
October 11: This Is How Western Liberal Democracy Dies
October 12: Why Am I Always Taking Out the Trash?
October 13: Are You Responsible For Your Followers?
October 14: Why I Hate Toddlers and Their Parents
October 15: Do I Deserve the Things I Have?
October 16: Collecting Taxes Has a Cost Too
October 17: The Bigger Pandemic Picture
October 18: Our Invisible Inequality