Every now and then, Hevria does a period where all of our writers participate in a theme. Sometimes it’s public, like our “Truth and Dare” project, and sometimes it’s something private like all resolving to write something positive.
I am super super pumped for this later adventure. This time, our goal was to not just push the content of our work, but also the form.
These days, the temptation as writers is to simply get something out. With the pressures of “quantity vs. quality” that social media has made us all feel, it’s just so easy to fall into a pattern of personal and inner ease. And this is even more true among writers like us at Hevria who commit to a relatively intense writing schedule on top of the other work we do outside of this project.
That’s why I was amazed and surprised when everyone agreed to a proposition I made to help combat this temptation: a theme based around long-form writing.
For the record, most of our writing is somewhere around 1,000 words to 1,500 words. What us writers will be doing over the next two weeks is pieces that are at least 4,000 words. That would be about 16 pages in a book. Combined, we’ll be doing about 240 pages worth of writing over the next two weeks.
Writing long-form on the internet is scary. For a lot of reasons.
First of all, as I mentioned, it’s already hard enough to just get a piece of writing out there when you work full-time, when you have kids, when you write for other outlets.
Second, it’s a big emotional investment. We have to come up with ideas that would make sense to write in such a long form. And that means digging deep to find stories we’re willing to tell that we’re willing to invest that time and energy into.
And finally, most of all, combining that physical and emotional struggle, there is a fear of the investment not paying off. Why spend all that time writing if people seem to prefer sharing shorter, more direct pieces? Will it be worth it to put our hearts on the line if nobody listens? If a longform piece is written and no one shares it, has it even been written?
Well, that last fear is exactly why we’re doing this. One of Hevria’s core messages is that for people drawn to creativity, creative expression has inherent worth. And taking creative risk is what makes creative expression increase that inherent worth. It’s not just the time and energy required for this kind of work, it’s the act of doing something different. Of breaking out of routine to stretch ourselves out and feel uncomfortable. Of accepting and realizing that this stretching itself makes our creativity more inherently valuable and helps us grow as people.
Why am I sharing all this thinking with you?
Because Hevria does not aim to be a bubble. We do our creative work outwardly, in the open, together, because we want to help spread the ideas that will help energize the people who are looking for that sort of work.
And so, as with all our themes, the creative work is not just about what we’re making but how we’re making it. You’re part of it just as much as anyone else.
In other words: this challenge we’ve given ourselves is also a challenge to you. Can you find a way to get out of your creative routine, to push yourself, to try something risky and scary?
I’m sure you can.
And I hope we find more opportunities to do it together.