Twelve Twenty-nine Two Thousand Eleven

I began this 1000 day writing habit on August 13th 2007. I recall on that day not knowing what I’d produce in the next thousand. I recall my uncertainty I’d make it through a week, but I did. I recall my next uncertainty I’d make it a month, but I did.

Then I started failing to write on one day or another. Sometimes my misses were circumstance, sometimes laxity, sometimes prideful justification. Weekends soon presented themselves as a waste of effort: a poor combination of circumstance and quality. The quality and length of writing done on Saturday and Sunday didn’t measure up to rules I don’t have for such things. Rules I still leave uncodified. Then there would be other gaps: vacations, ennui, whatever.

Whatever habit you begin wants to continue until you introduce a new habit. Try to make the new introductions positive.

So here I am. Here I am at 500 days of writing. Here I am past my 1000 day mark by 99 days. As much as I’ve accomplished and as much as I’ve learned in 500 days of writing I’m disappointed I don’t have twice as much experience at this time.

At day 500 my accomplishments in 1000 Days please me, but I’m not ecstatic. Not joyful, not celebratory.

I hereby renew my efforts to write each day. I hereby vow to write each day even when my words are crap–even when they are few. I hereby resolve to figure out the mystery of the weekend writing. I hereby swear that come 12/29/2011 I’ll not be disappointed.

263 words on day 500

Eighty-Four Weeks to Go

This weekend we painted the familyroom.  Thus no writing.

As I said recently and as I drug out over several thin weeks of real writing I enjoyed writing toward a deadline.  Naturally I realized and then immediately began to sublimate that realization: I must learn to write toward my own internal deadlines if I wish to become any sort of useful writer.

Despite my poor adherence to the daily aspect of this blog over the past two years the time has come.  I need to push to the next level.  From now on 1000 Days will have a weekly cycle.  Beginning today I will devise and plot a new 1000 word minimum story each week.  I will release them Sunday nights.

Here are some guidelines:

  • 1000 word minimum
  • First five weeks will capitalize on existing characters or threads from the first 400 days
  • Five different characters or threads
  • After that who knows
  • Releases will be stories with beginnings, middles, and ends.
  • Monday: Brainstorming and loose plotting; Tuesday: plot outline and writing; Wednesday and Thursday: more writing; Friday|Saturday: draft release; Sunday: final edit.

Now to find the five.

Day 410

Disconnectivity is Probably Not a Word

Ahead of any of the rest of this I should thank those of you that read 1000 Days.  I appreciate the lot of you silent as you are about your participation.  Also, a big shoutout to you robots combing the Internet for RSS feeds: thanks for stopping by.

The theme of concern resolving from those that do provide me feedback is that I don’t present a cohesive thread of any kind.  Each day is new.  Each day is disconnected from most of the days before it.  Each day is a start with no middle or end.

I agree.  And I dislike the disconnectivity as much as you.  For anyone previously tentative about coming forward with criticisms of 1000 Days, let that admission alay any fears of authorial retaliation.  I’m OK with external criticism of my work in part or whole.  LEt’s not let that be the crack that breaks the dam and looses relentless volumes of bashing though—I’m no masochist.  Alone in a vaccum with just pen and paper erodes my creativity and quality.

Starting next week I’ll be organizing each week by a theme.  All seven—usually just five—will pivot on a core idea.  I may announce that idea ahead of time; I may not.  That pivot may come in the form of a straight forward story of sorts or it may simply be a bunch of stories about socks, or knives, or the wind, or greed.  In any case a theme.

In the spirit of collaboration—but not too much (maybe 99:1)—I’ll solicit themes in the comments below.

Word count: 260
Day 241

About Last Night

Initially I intended for that little 1 minute exercise to be more about character development. Since the inspiration for it focused on the physical form. Instead I got more of what I would call lead-off sentences. Not sticking with my intention isn’t a big deal. I’m just making note.

I probably won’t write against the clock again late in the evening at the last minute any more. Much like trainer walking a horse before a race, timed writing like that warmed up my brain and then left it clamoring in the starting gate only to be led back to the barn. Even when I woke up this morning I continued to probe the first couple of words of a sentence for good breeding.

Strange and unexpected.

I’ll do what I can to return later today, but I’ve got mowing, solo parenting (can’t call it babysitting when they’re yours), and some undefined notion of a third major thing to do today.

Word count: 146
Day 224

In 20 Minutes

Those bastards over at Gorilla Artfare did it again. Of particular blame is this guy.

I’m going to attempt the writing version of “30 second poses”. Mine are going to be a minute long though because the online timer I found is too hard to set to a minute and because I’m a lazy punk.

  1. Brenda sprinted down the dark hallway. She wasn’t sure which child cried, but she was going to put a stop to it so none o
  2. Leaves puddled at the base of the tree. A robin picked among them…
  3. Nine garangs walked out of the treeline into the sunny mountain meadow. Each wore a smart vest and carried a walking staff. It was time for tea. (whoops forgot to hit start)
  4. Mark found the ocean remarkable not for its size but it ceaseless action. Waves crashe
  5. Mist rose from the warm pond as I dipped my paddle into the surface. There was no reason for me to be quiet or still, yet I couldn’t not be. Even th
  6. “You’d better not be trying to play the I’ve changed more diapers today card on me now. I change these things everyday. If you change this one and the next 10 after that you’ll maybe catch up to Tuesday.”
  7. Patricia stoope to pick up the paper. The side up held no writing, but there was no way the reverse could be blank. She was curious to know if it would be a phone number, a name, or
  8. The dog growled. The glass seperated us, but I couln’t be sure he didn’t know that. I wasn’t taking chances so I dropped the package and bolted for the car.
  9. An ant, one of the smaller red ants, not the ones that bite, but the ones you can barely see walked along the contour of my cup.
  10. Carol stroked the inside of her arm. Her cool skin sagged with age. She resisted admitting she no longer
  11. Two enourmous machines crested the hill. Nothing this big wasn’t military, but these didn’t seem of the typical green with guns sort. The undercarriage clung tot he ground
  12. Anxious for the test to be over, Carl skimmed the remaining questions. Maybe one of them would be easy to answer. Maybe one of them would save him from being in the lower classes again next year.
  13. Pixies hovered in various places in the air before me. Their formation seemed one of collective curiousity more than outright attack. Carefully I slid my hand into
  14. Green. I had to remember green. First I had to sleep then I had to wake up remembering green. Green. Green. Grass is green. But it’s wet too. Wet. Wet.
  15. Jennifer loaded up her book bag and headed out the door to class. Tuesdays and Thursdays were the worst because she had no breaks and all three classes had big books or multiple books.
  16. Juan never could get a grip on where his mind would go on a shift. His hands cleared tables and his arms carried dishes, but in his head he was never in the restaurant. Instead he
  17. Butterflies clouded the air around Jill. One or two of them on a flower in her garden was nice. Hundreds fluttering in her face was exactly the opposite
  18. Three flights of stairs lay before John. The elevator remained unfixed for the third day in a row. THis building’s SUper sucks he thought.
  19. I really wanted to watch Deadwood instead of write tonight. Instead I couldn’t leave well enough alone and I’ve taken 20 mins to create this mess of few liners. It’s a bit of a rush, but I can’t see the neccessity of it for a writer.
  20. Not sure I can see the point for an artist either. Maybe it’s to let you brain step out of the way and leave the work to your fingers, wrists, and arms? Anyone? Certianly it turned a blow off night into something a little more

Ok.

There you go.

I wrote.

Highest word count ever.

Word count: 645
Day 223

Teaching Myself to Edit

Real writers are voluminous writers. They have completed novels, abandoned novels, and unwritten novels. Never mind writing more than one story in a lifetime or year, they write more than one a month. Sometimes after tens of pages they give up on a story because it turns out to be going nowhere. No doubt many have forgotten so much of what they’ve written they’d not recognize it if it weren’t on their harddrives.

These authors hack out manuscripts well past midnight night after night. I suspect when they pause for thought it’s not to figure out what to write but which way of the many they want to write it. They continue typing through rough patches and lulls, because, really, what else would you do?

1000 Days is still teaching me the same lesson I needed to learn on day one. It’s still teaching me to write something I enjoy and then to ignore it and move on to the next day. This is a difficult lesson. Every idea I have feels like THE idea—too important to cast off after a day or two of exploration. I do it anyway.

It’s time for me to learn to edit.

My pieces here don’t really have the word count to warrant an edit in the sense that I’ll be taking a first draft to the second draft stage, but I’ll have to make do with what I can. Saturdays I will reach back about 100 days for editing fodder.

Tomorrow I’ll be digging into…

Day 104: Bunbun of the Veleme

Word count: 264
Day 205

Day 142: The Last Counted Day

I am considering dropping the day count numbering to the main body of the posts rather than having them so prominently in the title.  I suspect this will aid in my gaining more SEO respect as well as conserving the space available on this Blogrush widget I’ve added.  Since it’s my blog and my DB I can always get into the body with a query.  If I wanted to somehow recreate the day count part of the title for some future reason.

It makes this whole thing look like a project.  I am not going to deliver it to a customer once I hit day 1001.  It won’t get packaged and sold–or shelved.

A post each day is evidence enough that I’ve written as I vowed.  The numbers are really for me to track where I am.  Why publish them?

Word count has been bugging me too.  But I think it should bug me since it’s purpose is to goad.  I’ll keep it around for a bit.

Also, we need a weekly limit on these crap maintenance posts.