Only A Fool Would Agree


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

Groggy Ramblings


Barring any foolishness on my part, I will complete my 1000 Days effort on Memorial Day 2012. Since that’s only 3 days a way I’m guessing the chance is high that I’ll make that goal. Ha.

The last couple days of near two hundred word count efforts has exhausted me, so today I’m just going to talk about what I wrote.

I came across the wagon home of the James Button character in a rather lumpy, but not terribly surprising way. An artist I follow (also for lumpy reasons) recently posted a critique request. Five people responded. One of those people had a link to her art blog and after some scrolling there I came across her sketches of James’ mobile dwelling. While some might use the word stole to describe my usage of her work, I’ll hastily point out that she had no more than a name for James Button (actually Jim—I classed it up) and his home wasn’t mobile in her drawings. So, short of a name and a wagon-like dwelling I think anything I do next will be unassociated with the original.

Anyhow, I unconciously set this in the same world as the Merriweather Balloon Boat & Mobile Market. It ain’t a stretch.

Sadly, I’m a little more proud of the fact I gave Mr. Button a goal right out of the gate than I should be. Fortunately the grandure of that amazing feat is balanced by the groggy ramblings immediately following.

My plan was to have Mr. Button trapped in a town celebrating a minor holiday with more verve than he planned for, thus he would be encumbered on his trip to bigger and better places. His eight day trip he needs to complete in six. See how I built a ticking clock in there too? Yeah, no idea where that’s going; I probably ought to think that through a bit.

Nominally I intended to send him off to the Evercott’s estate, but that may have been because I couldn’t come up with any other place in the Merriweather world to send him. It might be worth it to consider both options before I proceed. If I send him to Evercott’s I keep the story tight, but might be jumping too soon. If I send him elsewhere I may be opening up the adventure, but not getting tot he main point for too long.

The answer to that is probably in the determination of what Mr. Button might be carrying that could make his trip to [where ever] so crucial.

Photo courtesy of sjrankin.

424 words on day 997

Some Town Here


All James Button wanted to do was to lay in his bunk, pull the quilt over his face, and escape this town, but the revelers just outside his door wouldn’t allow him any peace. Instead he busied his hands with the task of crafting new rails for his stock of flavoring herbs, medicaments, wool-stuffs, and clockworks. Till now he’d gotten by with a bit of quarter-round tacked to the lip of each shelf and good roads, but he was eight days out from [somewhere fun sounding] with a mountain tangle of road called [something fun sounding] and needing to be there in just six. His cargo would surely suffer fromt he trip. If he couldn’t get out of this [town] he could at least get ready to get out of this [town].

I started this yesterday and don’t like it much.

The little hand pointed to the twelve; James Button watched as the big hand crawled from the two to the three. He wanted to be asleep in his bunk—quilt pulled over his head as a guard against the mountains’ chill—but it was Shill’s Day and the revelers still reveled. The carousers still caroused.

In any normal town, in Corriedall or Brillen in Sheviot or Wendée, even in the great double city of Rough-Strong, Shill’s Day meant elaborate but over obvious cons during the day and a dinner among friends that evening where that year’s Shill footed the bill if they dined out or hosted the meal if they dined in. The next day was a working one. Here in [some town here] James discovered Shill’s Day meant something more, but he never discovered why. He was eight days out from [somewhere fun sounding] with a mountain tangle of road called [something fun sounding] and needing to be there in just six.

Photo courtesy of Susie Blackmon.


300 words on day 996