I’m almost afraid to tackle this one. Maybe I should do the math today instead of tomorrow to avoid the pressure.
I began 1000 days of daily writing on August 13th 2007. That was 1750 days ago. My original goal date was May 9th, 2010. I am almost two years late, but I am done. It’s hard to know how proud to be of this particular ending. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy and satisfied in many ways. I just can’t help but wonder what might have come out of 1750 days of consecutive writing instead of my near every-other-day reality.
I suspect it may not have been that much better. That’s not sour grapes. I think despite the later than expected completion I’ve put in about as much effort as I could have along the way. When I started I had three kids under four; I now have four kids over four. I also have one less dog, two more dogs and one more cat. I picked the eight o’clock hour to write which became school drive time and the oldest dog’s favorite time to eat and poop. I can’t blame him; developed similar habits. I started in one office alone and ended in an entirely different office which I share. These aren’t anywhere near as bad as being stricken with cancer or losing a limb, but they were niggling enough that they took a toll.
I took some breaks. I forgot occasionally. And sometimes I said, “Fuck it.” Those are the only days I regret.
There are more than a few standout efforts I like. Hartwhile, Shanty, Benhá, Grumphook, Malachi, Pixies, Terminus, Crainewood, and Bringer come to mind for threads. (There would be more if I looked.) Fanboy, dialogue pairs, 20 minutes, and 10 plots for craft.
I’m glad I took the time to play a bit with the second person. I’m glad I found some comfort in if not much success from learning about structures. I’m glad I played with maquettes. I’m glad I’ve developed a repository of pictures to inspire me. I’m glad I can use a picture to write something new I never planned to write thirty seconds before I saw it. I’m glad I could come back from breaks. I’m glad I practiced planning ahead for known outages. I’m glad I made one submission.
I wish I had learned to write for sixty whole minutes. I wish I had learned to stick with something longer than I did. I wish I had submitted more. I wish I had tried harder with first person. I wish the same of present tense. I wish I had developed a following. I wish I had written more non-fictionally. I wish I had found a thousand words a day rhythm. I wish I’d learned to be better at editing.
What happens now?
I don’t know. I’ve actively avoided thinking about the answer to that obvious question. Pointless question.
I don’t expect to stop writing, but I don’t know how I can continue in the haphazard manner I’ve been carrying on these past years. I want to do more, but I want to do much differently than I have been. I want to account for plotting time, planning time, research and thinking. I want to do something which values that kind of effort in the pursuit of a goal. I want to take a break. I don’t want to feel guilty for not creating. I want to feel compelled to write each time I do.
If I had to be concrete. If I had to start something new and different and the same on Tuesday the 1001th, I’d say that I now write at night. That I have one or two threads I can alternate between. I’d say that my week has a rhythm; not my days. I’d say there were monthly and/or quarterly goals. I’d say I bring in a partner of sorts—someone to regularly discuss my work with. A manager. I’d say there would be a checklist.
That sounds much harder than 1000 days. That doesn’t sound like a break. That sounds like something only a fool would agree to.
Photo courtesy of boxlace.
690 words on day 999