This fall… really, over the past couple of weeks, I have made a few commitments to myself regarding my writing. Primary, is the fact that I need to write more.
Starting today, I will be writing daily a minimum of 750 words. Actually, I wrote 3k words yesterday for NaNoWriMo, so I suppose I had already started.
I also believe in the power of free writing, and journaling. First, practice makes perfect, but also, it helps to have a no-holds-barred venue to write in. Just like an Opera singer would never go out on stage without performing vocal exercises, and an athlete would never hit the court/track/rink/whatever without first stretching and warming up, neither should a writer write without tapping into the unconscious first.
Today I signed up for 750words. It’s just a tool to help keep you motivated. You can type in your 750 daily into your account and take a monthly challenge (30 days forms a habit!) and it will hassle you if you miss days.
For the most part, what goes into 750words stays in 750words by the looks of it, but I’d like to share my todays, first, post with all of you.
I’m not sure if I’ll be copying my 750 word brain dump every day, but I may once in a while.
Without further adieu, today’s article is ‘The Start’. This is meant as a free-flow, stream of consciousness writing.
Okay, here I go. I have joined the site 750words and will be writing daily from now on. No exceptions. Come rain or shine, health or sickness, peace or trauma – what I want to do, is write every. single. day. for the rest of my life. This is it. There was a line, and I have just stepped over it. It was on a bridge and I just burned it. When I’m done I am going to post it.
I am in my 30′s, so if I pull off 750 words per day, for ever anon, then I am looking down the barrel of a gun loaded with more than 13 million words… and that’s just the warm up. Shit that thought is strangely invigorating!
750 words does not seem like much but I can image that it may become difficult getting all those characters out of your head on a daily basis. See, only 50 words so far, a mere 1/15th of the way there, and I am already worried about the word count…
Yesterday I wrote 3000 words towards my new novel, being written as part of NaNoWriMo, 2012. I really wanted to participate, but lost track of the start of the contest and found myself 1/2 way through and facing a decision: Wait until next year, again, or haul ass and see what I can pull off in 2 weeks.
It is highly unlikely that I’ll make the required 50k words in the 16 days I have left to me, a commitment of almost 3000 words daily, but I decided that the effort is worth it, regardless of whether i make the deadline or not. The point is, I won’t stop at the deadline – NaNoWriMo is just an excuse to do that thing I’ve always wanted to do.
Of course, if I do somehow manage to pull of a final-second Hail Mary pass down the left hand side of the pitch (how’s that for mixed metaphors!) then I will do a happy dance for a week. I am already dreaming about future interviews where I can say, “Well Jane, I wrote my first 50k word novel in a mere 2 weeks”. Not that I am nearly as pretentious as all that.
For as long as I can remember, writing is what I wanted to do. And I have, written that is. But I haven’t made any effort to show off my work, or pursue it in anyway. I just like to jot occasional notes in my journals, which I then put back on a shelf. But that is not what I wanted. I wanted to publish. I wanted to hold a book in my hand that had my name down the spine: VALIANT – hell! I even have the name for fiction, esp. fantasy – and I can write, so I should be a shoe-in!
So why have I not pushed this? Why have I always treated it as a ‘someday’ vocation, ideal, dream? I wish I knew, but I have theories…
First of all, I think I am a pretty unmotivated guy. I have always thought of myself as ‘accommodating of others’ or ‘easy going’ but I am beginning to see the dark side of this attitude – why did it take so long? bah! – the dark side of course is, ‘GET OFF YOUR ASS AND DO SOMETHING BUSTER!’
I WANT to do things from a big picture point of view, and I occasionally do too. But mostly, at any given moment in time, I’d rather read, or play video games, which I find horribly addictive, or watch movies, or play with my kids, or build stuff out of wood, or whatever…
I think the second big stumbling block for me has always been a lack of self confidence… a painful lack. Coupled with painful shyness and it is amazing I survived high school really! I have come a long way over the past 10 or 15 years, but that shy, un-confident kid-that-I-was, will never really go away completely.
… and maybe a fear of looking like a dumbass. Which is way worse than a simple fear of failure by the way. The fear of looking like a dumbass IS the fear of Failure, but coupled with the fear of looking like a Dumbass… in front of Others. Which totally sucks. The famous quote “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you a fool, than open it and prove them right,” has always stuck with me, and I have lived by it to a large extent, consciously or otherwise. I hate asking questions, I hate looking like I don’t know something, I hate not being perfect.
And sometimes, these stoopid fears keep me from doing the things that I really want to do.
But, another thing I really hate is Regret. Being shy and self-conscious as a kid kept me from doing some of the things I wish I had done. Now-a-days, I hold those regrets close as reminders. Never open the door to regret, it’s a terrible bedfellow.
So with a simple reminder, to myself, that I do not want to get old and not have written is all I needed to hatch an action plan – Write. Every. Day.
I would love to be published… but I may never be. I would love to finish 40 novels, but I probably won’t. I would love to make a difference in somebody’s life using the power of the written word, but I likely never will.
But one thing I can do, is write. From now, until ever, this is a beginning, and I look forward to the ride.