Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My Crazy Writing Life - Day 1: An Introduction Of Sorts

I must be insane. That part is certifiable. As one of my New Year's resolutions, I've decided to write about my life as it unfolds, and jot down the pearls of wisdom as I uncover them along the way. As a test run, I’ll be writing at least 1,000 words per day, every day, until I reach January 31st. If all goes well, I’ll continue through the end of the year. The goal is to write the bulk of each entry in the morning, add to it throughout the day, and edit it in the evening. At the end of the week, I'll take a gander at what I've put down, make the appropriate tweaks, shake it up real good, and promptly forget about it, focusing on the upcoming week.

No sweat, right?

By writing 1,000 words per day, I'll be producing over 350,000 words a year. Holy crap! What’s wrong with me? I almost had a heart attack when I first took out the calculator and realized what I was embarking on. If one assumes that the average page is at least 250 words, I'll be writing over 1,400 pages. That's right, a one, a four and two zeroes slapped on the end of it. Yikes!

So my first question is: Will it be even remotely intelligible? Seriously, what can I possibly say to fill up that many pages? And does a year of my life warrant 10 pages, let alone 1,000? It's not like I'm some action hero, traveling the world, chasing bad guys, cheating death and wooing beautiful, exotic women.

I'm a writer. My imagination makes up for my deficiencies.

Or so I think…

But with my quirky personality and unique talent for getting myself in trouble—typically of my own design—I suppose this could be an interesting venture; just as intriguing as watching a handyman paint a wall. As Ryoki Inoue says, "If you hit a plot snag, use dynamite."

A thermonuclear bomb might have to do.

Most likely, I'll be writing well over the allotted 1,000 words per day. In the dark ages, when I first started keeping a writing journal, I forced myself to write 500 words per day, every day for several months. After awhile, 500 words wasn’t enough space to express everything that I wanted to say. 500 words quickly became 1,000, and these days, I don't feel comfortable putting down anything less than 1,500. Ooh boy…

But no one wants to read a 2,000-page book about a struggling writer, least of all me, so I'll be sure to scale it back where I can (if I can). I tend to blab—what can I say, it runs in the family—so perhaps 2,000 pages is a bit on the low side. (Sorry, I tried to warn you!)

Most importantly, why am I doing this?

Simply because I must.

I'm a writer. I'm compelled to do this. I've tried to turn off my creative juices before, but to no avail. And the journal writing simply doesn’t seem to go away. I've ignored it for a while, even for months at a time, but it always seems to creep back. It's something that I need to do to keep me healthy, and most of all, sane (not that you'd mistake anything written here for someone with a sound mind). It helps give me distance and perspective so that I can work through problems that are bothering me. And when I keep up with my journal, I tend to be more consistent across the board, which is the name of the game for writing in general.

Journaling works for me and makes me more productive, so there's no sense in ignoring it any longer. But instead of just putting down words that no one will ever see, it’s time to do something with them, for better or worse. Who knows? I might not embarrass myself this time.

So sit back and enjoy these scribblings about my life and the nuggets of wisdom that I find, and hopefully they'll teach you what not to do. And if you're a young writer who's simply looking for some sound advice, let me save you the trouble of this long-winded rant:
  • Write every day, as often as you can. The act of doing so makes you more professional and gives you the practice that is sorely needed to write that bestseller that’s locked in you.
  • Instead of focusing on speed, focus on consistency, and learn something new about grammar each day to help you compose your thoughts better.
  • Trust yourself and enjoy what you do.
  • Don’t get stuck in the pitfall of rewriting or analysis paralysis and seek to get better by writing forward.
  • Instead of entering countless (and very subjective) writing contests, declare yourself the winner and put up your next work on Amazon.
  • Learn to become self-sufficient and develop a thick skin for those one-star reviews that inevitably roll in (trust me, every successful author has them, even yours truly).
Writers write. Authors have written. And slackers talk about writing. (It seems that I fit into the latter category more often than the first two.)

And don’t be ashamed to admit that you wrote about farts (even brilliant minds such as Benjamin Franklin wrote about such things), zombie poetry (the undead have quite a way with words, especially when they’re not trying to gnaw off your legs), and installing popcorn machines in women’s crotches (pleading the fifth on that one). Remember, this is all about free expression. Have fun with it.

Your work doesn’t have to follow the same cookie cutter mentality as everyone else. People are multi-dimensional with fascinating personalities once you get to know them. And your readers want to know you. Be brave, take chances, speak candidly where appropriate and your audience will love you even more!

All right, it’s time to wrap this up. Even now I’ve soared past the 1,000-word limit. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope that you find something of value here, whether it’s informational, inspirational or you’re just looking for a good laugh.

Now onto the nonsense otherwise called my life…

Day 1: 1,035 words
Total: 1,035 words

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