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It's Only Words, at last!

It's been over a year of procrastination and faffing so I thought I'd finally put my "book" project to bed. I was going to properly self-publish It's Only Words but that would involve getting permission to reprint sections from other people's works and I don't think I want to put myself through that process and incur even further delays.

It's Only Words cover

Instead, I'm just going to make it available here via the blog for anyone who wants to read it. I'll create a separate page for it over the next couple of days but, for now, you can use the below links:

The EPUB version won't open in Apple Books (it just doesn't like it) but seems fine in any other ebook reader.

For anyone unfamiliar, It's Only Words is me putting to rest the thoughts, ideas, angst and anguish that came with my #write365 project back in 2014. I vowed to write something, anything every day for a year of around 300 words. The subtitle is "Lessons learnt from a year of writing" and that is how this is presented.

That project became intensely personal and surfaced a number of issues for me (triggering extended mental health problems) so "Words" is a way of putting that all behind me.

There may still be typos or grammatical errors. It may not make perfect sense. You might enjoy it or hate it, agree with some points but vehemently disagree with others. That's fine — it's a starting point, a conversation starter and, more importantly, therapy.

I'm happy to finally share it with the world. Even if no one reads it at least I can say "I did that. Me!"

22/03/2022 11:21pm
#Yesterday, I hit 300 consecutive days of posting to the blog. Admittedly, a lot of that has been posting about the blog but it's still a pretty solid run. A lot of what I've posted has been in typical microblogging mode but posting itself is now completely habitual – that and writing to the journal which, itself, is only three days away from 300 consecutive entries.

I've not posted this consistently since the #write365 project back in 2014, I think the most I had achieved in a row was about 200 days. The way things operate now I can't see any reason why I wouldn't post on any given day short of being physically unable.

07/10/2021 4:45pm
#Editing normally involves cutting things out, trimming them down and simplifying. I am hoping to go the other way by adding more extracts from the #write365 project as I feel that there needs to more of an impact from the source material.

05/05/2021 8:10pm
#Happy Friday!

The past couple of days have seen progress on the final chapter of (or should I say conclusion to) the writing project. I have used extracts of posts from the #write365 project all the way through (they serve as a foundation for the whole thing) but yesterday saw me using the whole of one particular post, albeit with a slight rewrite. It laid out a story that perfectly introduced what I didn't previously know I was trying to say.

This morning, I started adding a couple of bullet points to my notes and had somewhat of a revelation — some may see it as overly twee but I believe it encapsulates my entire message in just a couple of sentences. I suppose that's the thing with conclusions, they're supposed to bring the threads together in such a way that you don't really need to read everything that comes before. Intro and extro, everything else is decoration.

16/04/2021 9:52am
#The sense of release from knowing that the blog package works must have unclogged the mental pathways — after not being able to write more than a few notes for days I have managed to knock out about 600 words this morning, a good start to Chapter 11, a chapter that was really causing me problems.

The relief is palpable.

I've been crossing off the days having at least contributed something to the project but felt a pang of guilt for doing so when those contributions amounted to little more than a sentence or a couple of bullet points. It feels good to have writing something more substantial.

In Chapter 10 I was writing about the self-imposed pressure to write every day during the #write365 project while putting the same pressures upon myself now. It seems natural to want to keep a habit going by means of repetition but is that always the best way? Oliver Burkeman, author of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking (which is in my "to read" stack) wrote about acting Dailyish rather than every day:

it involves surrendering the thrilling fantasy of yet-to-be-achieved perfection in favour of the uncomfortable experience of making concrete progress, here and now ... it isn't synonymous with "just do it as often as you can"; deep down, you know that if you never average more than a day or two per week on your novel/fitness plan/meditation practice/side business/whatever, then you won't acquire the momentum to move forward. "Dailyish" involves applying more pressure to yourself than that.

This is where his definition of pressure and mine diverge. The crucial distinction, he says, is that "it's a matter of pressure rather than of forcing." Putting pressure on yourself to do something as often as you can is vastly different from forcing yourself to turn up every day whether the will, enthusiasm or inspiration is there or not.

Pressure good, forcing bad — in an Orwellian/Animal Farm style aphorism.

I shouldn't feel guilt. If I am going to hold myself to daily contributions then I should accept that some, to continue the theme, will be more equal than others. But all are equally valid and ultimately contribute to the whole.

04/04/2021 11:26am
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Colin Walker Colin Walker colin@colinwalker.blog