We are a race obsessed by lists. Nowhere is this more obvious than when trawling the internet for inspiration for a blog post. It seems we’re especially fond of numbered lists. Alongside one single article today I found links to all of the following. 13 Common Words You Are Probably Mixing Up. 11 Things You Should Know About Piercings. 14 Habits of People With A Healthy Relationship To Food. 10 More Realistic Milestones For Your Baby Book. 5 Myths About Caffeine, Busted. You’ll be relieved to know that was the only one I read. Apart from 9 Breakup Texts That Just Might Test Your Faith In Humanity. That one sneaked up while I wasn’t looking. Despite a title cunningly formulated without numbers, the article I actually wanted to read hovered perilously close to list format too. I forgave it, on the grounds that it was quite interesting.
These articles seem to have a few things in common. They often purport to provide useful information. Apart from the breakup texts one. That was almost a total waste of cyberspace. Although one of the nine did make me chuckle … They usually have some kind of ‘angle’. I’m fairly sure the caffeine article was sponsored by a coffee company. Or written by someone with a habit even worse than mine. And from a writer’s perspective, they’re a pretty good way to present a list of loosely-connected factoids without having to sweat blood over editing.
So in the interests of experimentation with different writing genres, I’d like to present my own list. [Insert Number Here] Things You Should Know Before You Decide To Give Up Not Being A Writer For A Hundred And Twenty-Five Days
1. It’s much harder than you might think to type a title where Every Single Word Begins With A Capital Letter. Don’t do it.
2. If you’re writing a list like this you don’t actually need to decide how many items it will contain until you’ve finished. Just so long as you remember to insert the correct number before you post it online.
Your word processing programme will automatically reformat any sentence that begins with a number. Don’t forget to undo the formatting. It’ll be really hard to sort it out later.
See what I mean?
5. You may think you’ve only given up not being a writer. Mad fool. You’ve actually given up watching telly. Eating cooked meals. Going to bed before midnight. Phoning your friends. Having a social life. Doing anything whatsoever without wondering whether you might be able to work it into a blog post. In fact, you could write another article entitled 107 Things I Gave Up …
There are some words you will never learn to type correctly at the first attempt. Words like theer, inot, socila, and nad are easy to spot because of the red squiggly lines. Your spellcheck isn’t bright enough to know you meant ‘pick’, not ‘prick’. ‘Every’, not ‘very’. ‘Look’, not ‘loo’. It could make all the difference. My all-time personal best typo, a few years back, was the title of a well-known hymn. Come, let us sin …
6. You’ll start out all fresh-faced innocence. You’ll think that writing 500 words every day is a great way to discover your ‘voice’. Don’t be fooled. By Day Forty-Three you’ll be sick of the sound of it.
7. There are two very good reasons not to save every article you write under the number of the day you posted it online. One is you’ll lose track of what day it actually is by Day 25 … or 26 … oh, sorry was it only 24 …? The other is there’s no way on earth you’re going to be able to remember what you wrote about on which day by the end of the first fortnight.
9. You are going to feel exactly the way you did when you were a student. With an imminent essay deadline. And no idea what to write. Continuously. For around four-an-a-half months.
14. No matter how carefully you plan out your time, writing 500 words ALWAYS takes longer than you think it’s going to. And if you’re going to post anything intelligent online you’ll probably run over 500 words anyway.
Giving up not being a writer is one of the craziest things you’ll ever decide to do. But it will be worth every stressed-out minute. Really.
27. All this is to raise funds for a charity close to my heart. I’ve given up NOT being a writer for 125 days in support of One25’s work with vulnerable women in Bristol. You can find out more about them by visiting their website at http://www.one25.org.uk/. You can also support them by visiting my fund raising page at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=JeanMutch where you can make a donation and suggest an idea for a short story or a post on the blog. Thank you.