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

Obviously Unprompted

I use the tag ‘inspire’ when reading various blogs and producers of content to note intriguing content I find.  I mark between three and five items every day that give me pause.  While the tag isn’t exclusive to visual inspiration—at least it’s not supposed to be—I haven’t yet found enough inspiration from the written word to pin ‘inspire’ on any.

Recently I ran across two blogs listing prompts for writing.  I jump when others recommend such tools hoping they will have found some widget or technique I haven’t.  As I recall both these listed word based prompts.  I checked them all out thinking something might tickle me.  None did.

Part of me wants to find the irony.  I write yet I cannot find inspiration in the words of others.  My attention drops off of this conclusion like a cat skidding down the windshield of a parked car it’s not longer interested in perching on.  So far I’ve found written prompts fall into two categories: questions or demands and poetical near gibberish phrases.

“Someone has replaced your regular coffee with Folger’s Crystals.  How do you feel?”  I feel like hitting the Next Prompt button.

“Describe a garage sale at a haunted house.”  What for?

“thrice packed inside” Ummm…

So these turn out to be mechanical aids that don’t much aid as annoy.  I end up distracted by the inanity asking myself what I’m supposed to get out of that effort.  Maybe exposing my bitter feelings about coffee betrayal will help me cool down after being steamed?  I just don’t understand where I’m meant to go.  Maybe I’m not meant to derive any real use out of the effort.  Maybe I’m just warming up my muscles, stretching out my fingers.  I’m not much for throw away writing.  At least not throw away writing prompted by external forces.  I’m certain I can trash the crap my internal muse dishes out quite easily.

Anyhow, I like pictures.  I can read a beginning in them I can’t discern in canned words.

Day 296

One-hundred Ten Days Short

Ouch!  Just looked at the original Google Doc starting 1000 Days.  My first entry is dated August 13th.  Which means I’ve been at this daily writing thing more than a year and only have 284 entries to so for it.  I don’t recall abandoning weekends so early in the game.  I am a little afraid to check the math to see how many weekdays I must have missed too but I will anyway.

20080813 to current date equals 394 days.  110 days short of a full compliment.  In that time there have be 56 weekends encompassing 112 days.  Since I know I didn’t start dropping weekends till about halfway through this means I’ve missed more than a few weekdays of writing.  Being just two days ahead of the ‘just weekends off’ line is not pleasing.

I am certain a year ago I had higher expectations for more writing at this point.  In both quality, length, and regularity I’ve missed any mark I explicitly set or implicitly projected.  None of this surprises me.

I’ve not set standards for output.

I’ve not set goals for length.

I’ve not set rigid times for writing.

I do have a job and a life and a great number of kids to balance.  And while that combination of an excuse might seem tired to you, for me it feels both valid and improper at the same time.  Everyday is busy, but in much the same way.  With that kind of homogeneity in my distractions I should have been able to schedule around them better than I have.

This is my endeavor so I won’t embarrass myself by listing the fruitless distractions of the Internet.  Minus those I may have completed and sold my second novel by now.

Day 284