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About 40 Days and 40 Writes

The Backstory

Have you ever tried to rake leaves on a windy day? That’s how I felt when trying to write. After 20 years as a professional editor, I couldn't complete a sentence without revising it. I could never finish.

 

That changed in 2016. That year during Lent, instead of giving up TV or coffee, I wrote. Every day. Except Sunday. And I posted whatever I wrote online and shared it — so each mini-essay had to at least make sense.

 

My Lenten practice wasn’t meant to be a writing bootcamp; it was a long process of self-reflection. Still, turned out that up against a nightly deadline, I shed a lot of unhelpful writing habits. I got my “writer’s brain” back into fighting form and rediscovered the core of writing: making observations and connections, examining my own thoughts.

 

Until my writing brain fully engaged, however, it was really hard to come up with something to write about every day. That’s when I started looking into writing prompts — lists of them, web forums supplying them, books full of them. And I found that 90% of prompts, at least for the kind of writing I wanted to do, were absolute garbage.

 

So I set out to create a 40-day writing prompt program that would start easy and week by week engage and strengthen new writing muscles. Five friends recruited on Facebook volunteered to give it a whirl in 2017. I’ve been iterating and adding and automating ever since. The idea is simple: I provide a prompt, a daily deadline, a peer group, a space to share, and a touch of accountability. The effects can be profound.

 

I can’t promise that everyone will enjoy 40 Days and 40 Writes. I'd be the first to acknowledge that it's not for everybody. But it is for anybody. Poets and postmen, journalists and janitors, novelists and novices — you are all welcome on this journey.

 

Onward and upward!

— Robin Rauzi

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