Thirty Posts in Thirty Days

On Nov 10, I launched a new website for my Alexander Technique teaching practice and on a whim decided to blog every day for the first 30 days. Writing once a day was a somewhat arbitrary decision—why not every other day? But I figured that overkill in the beginning would get me in the rhythm of writing. And it was refreshing to be forced to produce something everyday, whether I was in the mood or not.

I soon discovered that certain rules seemed to apply. Each post took at least three drafts before I could stand the idea of someone else reading it. Writing filled the available time. If I had all day, it would take the whole day. If I had two hours, I could finish up in two hours. And there was no relationship between how inspired I was to write and the quality of the final product, let alone the popularity of an individual post. The most popular single post was written at the last minute, after spending all day casting about desperately for an idea.

Writing about the Alexander Technique is challenging—you can’t really capture the experience of a lesson in words. So I found myself mostly telling stories. Some of these stories I had been waiting to tell for 15 years or more. Others I had used over and over again when working with students. And each time I tried to write down a story, at some point, I would get blocked.

When you’re writing each day, you can’t really afford to stall out on a post. It was at this point that I would show a draft to Kyra—she's an amazingly astute editor—and she often revealed one of two things. Either I had changed the subject, and the post had suddenly gotten way too complicated for a 500 to 1,000 word blog post. Or I had stopped telling the truth.

It wasn’t that I was lying, but when telling stories about studying the Alexander Technique or the violin or even cooking, I would sometimes find myself recasting that experience in a way that I hoped would be most appealing to readers or would seem to prove the point I thought I was making. And when that happened, the draft wouldn’t hold together. Only when I really thought through the story, examined how I had felt at the time and wrote from the truth of that experience, that the writing would find its shape. Telling stories became a way of testing the truth of what I had to say.

Thirty days into this blog it’s time to change up the schedule a bit. Tomorrow night I’ll be in the pit for the first performance of the musical Newsies, and with eight shows a week, I’ll have much less time to write until after the first week of January. But I’ll keep posting, catch-as-catch-can, and might even have a guest post or two. There’s much more to say and much more to explore. Thanks for reading!

 

Andrew McCannComment