Day One: The new writing requirement.
Beginning today, I am committing myself to writing at least 1000 words each morning before I get to work (or play) on anything else. I have always had a desire to be a writer. Sometimes the desire burns and itches until I can think of nothing else. Other times it is nothing more than a dull ache deep inside that is easily ignored in favor of the other outstanding realities of life. Nevertheless, it is always present, always there. Life’s tragedies tend to bring it to the front, as do its little victories. I want to share my sadness or my triumph with others, to make them feel what I am feeling. Sometimes I even sit down and begin, a page, two pages even. More often, less than a paragraph before I am distracted by something else that may not be more important, or even more desired, but simply more urgent. And writing gets shoved, once again, to the back burner where it simmers, boils dry, and finally turns rotten and sour.
So today I begin a new commitment. Inspired somewhat by something I read yesterday. A recent acquaintance has a website, which I was idly perusing. He remarked, that sometimes it is hard to force himself to sit down and write, but that when this is so, he will simply set a goal. 1000, 2000 words, whatever is appropriate, he will force himself to sit down and type until the word counter hits the appropriate goal. So I decided to plagiarize this idea and make it my own. Now, when I come into my office, I will sit down at my desk, turn the computer on, and before checking e-mails, before reading the news, (meaning the comics…) before checking the NaNo site, I will pound out 1000 words. Any subject, any form, any genre. Even if, like today, it is nothing more than a silly ramble on an inconsequential topic.
Because to become a writer, one must write. Before anything else, one must write! I can dream of being a writer, I can wish to be a writer, I can even learn to be a writer, but until I actually start writing, I will never BE a writer. Perhaps out of sheer habit, I will get better at writing. Like the old saying that a million monkeys typing for a million years will produce at least one copy of the complete works of Shakespeare, one writer, writing 1000 words per day for the rest of his life, might conceivably produce something worth publishing. And if I never do, at least I will have developed this talent. I will have done something with it. I will have scratched that deep-seated itch and ache that torments my nights.
November will be a good month for this. National Novel Writing Month is the catalyst that has brought to me the importance of actually getting in front of the keyboard above all else. Sure, the internal editor will scream that I am writing pure crap. Of course, the chatterbox that hates me and all that I stand for will yell that I am wasting my time. That I am incapable, that what I am writing is crap. (At least the internal editor provides specific criticism.) I suspect however that they are working together. Nevertheless, I am not focusing on quality. I am not focusing on getting published (for now.) For now, I am like the out-of-shape person who decides to get back into shape. I don’t need to go out and run a marathon right now. I don’t need to start out with a ten-mile run. I simply need to start with getting up each day and strapping on my running shoes, and putting rubber to pavement. Each step is an improvement over sitting at home telling myself that I *SHOULD* get out there and do something. TO HELL WITH THAT! I am tired of being the weak-minded procrastinator! I am through wishing that I could be more this, or more that. I WILL begin here and now to change my life. I will begin here and now to become what God intended, whatever that is. I will never discover what by sitting back in the shadows listening to my chatterbox tell me how incapable I am. How I have a lot of talent, but unfortunately never learned self-discipline, that I don’t have the motivation to do anything about it. Bull… All of those things are decisions that I make each day. All of those things are internal to me, not the result of some external force.
For today, a slightly angry ramble about what I want to do and where I want to go. Tomorrow, who knows? Perhaps a short story that will germinate the seeds of a novel. Or many short stories that can be compiled into a collection. Poetry used to pour from me at will. Why can I no longer find that voice? Because I no longer call for it. It is lost back there, somewhere in the attic of my mind behind the Christmas decorations. I have piled years and years of responsibility and respectability on it until I can no longer summon it. I am cleaning out my attic. I am taking back my talent. Even if it never goes farther than this, at least I will have done something. I will have made the attempt.
What to write tomorrow? An epic poem? A short story? Finally put to words my ideas for the “Except for Me Syndrome”? Whatever it is, it may be great, or it may be crap. But it is MINE, and mine alone. And at least I did something with it. At least I uncovered it, dusted it off, and showed it to the world. What they do with it is up to them. My worth is not decided by the opinions of others. I am who I am, my art is what it is, and they are who they are.
One thousand, twelve words. Not a bad start…
Thursday October 12, 2006 - 09:37am (EDT)
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