Atomic Essay #30 – lines composed at a dining table in Liverpool

There was something quite inevitable about the nature of this post; it was always likely to reflective. That’s what we do after processes, and I’ve now nearly done mine. I set out to write 30 atomic essays in 30 days, and today is day 30. It is done.

Atomic Essay #30 – lines composed at a dining table in Liverpool
Photo by Ryan Warburton / Unsplash

There was something quite inevitable about the nature of this post; it was always likely to reflective. That’s what we do after processes, and I’ve now nearly done mine. I set out to write 30 atomic essays in 30 days, and today is day 30. It is done.

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Was it hard? I thought it would be. Honestly, it wasn’t – at least, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Part of the reason for this is that the posts were reactive. I made myself cling onto something that had happened, or that I’d read about, and I’d just document the chain of thoughts that resulted. Sometimes, the act of documentation – the act of writing – made me make connections and realise things I wouldn’t have otherwise. The act of writing is an act of thinking, and that’s what you’re reading when you read my writing – you’re seeing my thinking in process.

I didn’t really do any editing beyond one quick read through to catch errors (I don’t use spell or grammar check, because I write in Markdown). I’d write almost all of each post in one burst. I didn’t need to wait for the muse; I just documented what I was doing or what I was thinking.

This is risky, perhaps. What if I got things wrong? I’m sure I did. That’s how I learned. It made me feel vulnerable, every time, and it hasn’t got any better. But I’m not made of glass, and neither is anyone who wants to create something but is afraid to show it publicly. I’ve received both helpful criticism and encouraging compliments.

My posts have become more personal, too. My earlier posts are more performative; my later posts have less posturing about them. I was concerned with the creation of a voice early on; now I just try to get the words down as quickly as possible, so they can be read as clearly as possible. There is still work to do.

The atomic nature (i.e. short) of these posts has helped to sharpen me as a writer, I think. It’s a process akin to deliberate practice. It enabled me to focus on small aspects of my craft, rather than having to write a big performance post. The stakes were low, but the benefits high. I do miss longer, more thorough and more prepared posts, though – with some of these atomic essays, I feel as though I’d just started to scratch the surface.

I’ve really enjoyed the process. It will feel very odd tomorrow to write nothing. I’m very grateful to those who have stopped by to read any of these posts.

And with that, I am done.

Thank you for reading,

Alex