The Twelve Days of Christmas – a daily writing challenge


This is the plan.

This year I plan to write.
Even though it’s not yet time for New Year’s resolutions, and far too late for last year’s, what I mean is that this year, while I’m on my annual beach-holiday break, I intend to write.

For whatever reason, this Christmas I have only 12 days to spend here. Part of me wants to step right away from the screen. The other part remembers how much I enjoyed the website re-write in September and how the daily edits often included a writing warm-up opinion-piece at the start of each day.

Rewriting the website meant editing every element of it. I phoned my friend Carleen* the day I was tweaking one of the menus. (Who needs the Oxford Comma debate when there are near life-changing implications about issues such as lower-case versus upper-case and other design decisions needing long distance phone calls?)

Carleen, bless her designing, insightful mind suggested I change The Artist to a simpler Artist and to rename the Blog pages Writing.

I heard myself say “But…”
Then “Oh…”

I wanted to say that I’m a artist who writes, a teacher who writes, a speaker who writes: anything but a writer who writes.
“I’m not a writer”, I eventually said. “I don’t write”.

Except I do. Only I don’t call it writing.
Is a Toastmasters speech actually writing?
Is the canoe club newsletter actually writing?
Is advertising copy actually writing?
Is writing about your art actually writing?

This year I became a regular columnist for St Carthage’s Home Care magazine “LIFE!”.
That’s just telling people about how to be creative.
I had articles published in several magazines, including one that was translated into French and distributed throughout Europe.
That’s just telling people about my exhibitions.
Social media and the blogger-sphere is full of words as well as pictures.
That’s just telling people about my life.

But I do enjoy writing and find myself with hobbies that allow me to write.
I’ve written as far back as I can remember, all the way back to primary school.

Logically, if I’ve always written, but now publish them as ‘WRITING’, does that make me a Writer or am I still a writer.  Why does that make me nervous?

I think it’s because I want to keep writing as something I do for fun. I want to play with this thing and let it be a verb rather than a noun, an activity rather than a commodity.

So, in the spirit of exploration, I accept the Christmas holiday writing challenge.
Twelve days: twelve opinion pieces.
Published as part of my website blog, or filed away for other days.
Call the exercise writing or Writing it doesn’t matter much.
But I’ll be interested to see what happens when its given some proper time of its own. Perhaps I’ll even come to terms with that menu item, third from the end at the top of this page.

Watch this space.

*Carleen is the CEO and chief graphic designer at Evoke Design, based in Launceston. She is a legend.

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