I am unfortunately not talking about the National Novel Writing Month, but instead my writing goal for this year of writing 50,000 words. When I hit 40,000 words back in October, I challenged myself to hit 50,000 by December 1st. Well, as of this afternoon I have written a total of 50,004 words! It’s a good feeling.
Archive for November, 2011
If you follow this blog, you’ll know that I keep track of how many words I write. My goal for this year is to write 50,000. Well, over the weekend – without me noticing for a couple of days – I passed a milestone. Last year I wrote a total of 43,991 words. As of this morning, I’ve written 44,816 words! I still have a ways to go to meet my goal, but at least I’m improving. 😀
Like most writers, I often have ideas as I’m failing asleep. When that happens, we have a choice of either getting up, turning on a light, and writing it down, or hope we remember it in the morning. For a while I kept a notebook and pen by my bed to jot ideas down in the dark, but unfortunately, my handwriting is barely legible when I’m awake, wearing my glasses, and in a lighted room. The next morning I’d often look at the ink scrawled across the page and have no clue what was written. But hoping to remember your idea doesn’t always work, because you sometimes forget to remember something. To counter that problem, I began using the Memory Sock. The way this works is I took a sock with a hole in it and laid it on the floor where I could easily reach it. If I’m just about to fall asleep and have a great idea, I just feel around for the sock and toss it out into the middle of the floor. The next morning, I see the sock and my memory is jogged. Sometimes.
About a week ago, I was just about asleep when I had an idea. So I tossed the sock out into the room. I saw it there the next morning, remember the idea, but didn’t write it down. The sock then became buried under other clothes. A few nights later, I had a dream that I could turn into a story. But the sock wasn’t within reach. So the next morning I found the sock and wrote down the original idea. But after several days of trying to jog my memory, I cannot remember what the dream was I could turn into a story. It’s really bumming me out.
Each month, the writing group I belong to sets out a prompt for the next meeting. We then have a month to write a poem or something from that prompt that we read at the next meeting. I also figured these would work nicely as blog posts. The prompt for our November meeting was “If life were like ….” This is what I wrote.
What if life were like writing? We’d never have to settle for the first draft. If you – the main character – said something stupid when talking to the person you had a crush on, you could just go back and change it to something witty. Diets and cosmetic surgeries would be a thing of the past if all it took were some keystrokes to change your appearance. And if the plot of your life came to a fork and you took what turned out to be a boring, or otherwise wrong fork, you’d only have to go back a few chapters to take the other and see what comes from it. With enough tweaking, everyone could truly become the hero of their own narrative.
However, most people would probably say that some of the greatest moments of growth in their lives came from some of their greatest tragedies. Would people purposely write themselves into a tragedy so they could grow from it? And how would this work if everyone could write their life? Would creepy stalkers keep writing themselves into the lives of celebrities, only to have the celebrities constantly editing them out? And would titles like “Best Actor” or “President” still have meaning if all it took was someone to write, “And then John became Miss America?”
Perhaps it’s best that we can’t literally write our own lives. Life is crazy enough without the insanity that comes from writing.
I’m working on a new collection of stories. I’m planning on including six, six word stories. Of those six I had one good story and a bunch of not-so good stories. On a couple of occasions, I’ve sat down to write more good ones, only to draw blanks or more not-so good ones. Today I spent a good half-an-hour coming up with nothing. Then I wrote a good six word story in about five seconds.
And people wonder why writers go mad.