Finally, Day 30. Barely made it. Whew!
How was the whole experience? I loved it and hated it.
Loved the fact I got myself to write regardless of whether or not I was in the mood. In fact I treated it like a paying job with a daily deadline of 11:59 p.m., which was good training.
I also realized that it is possible for me to write that book. Most of my posts range from 700-900 words (sometimes even more). If I could continue at this rate, it would take about 4-6 months to complete a draft of a 100,000 word novel. I just need to set daily goals/deadlines, and more importantly, meet them.
Even more amazing to me was seeing that I was able to write and post something every day this month. I was so worried that I’d run out of ideas, that before the end of the day I made sure I had at least 2-3 possible topics to write about the next day. It’s similar to another writer’s trick of stopping in the middle of a sentence before the end of a chapter or at the beginning of a new one.
I also loved seeing the numbers of hits go up, as well as getting feedback or comments from my readers—even from people I don’t know. It reminds me of a line from Field of Dreams—”If you build it, they will come.”
Hated the days when writing was harder than usual, when all my ideas felt stale, or when I felt stale/crusty/blah. I’ve had days when the blog felt like a dead albatross hanging around my neck, especially when I had so many other things that needed to get done. But fortunately, I was able to work around those jam-packed days by finishing up something that I’d worked on earlier, or somehow the Universe was merciful and gave me something quick and easy to write about that day.
What did I learn? This whole experience taught me that if I were truly serious about writing, I’d need to do it every day—no excuses. I didn’t give myself time to wait for inspiration or expect perfection. I just had to produce, produce, produce. The biggest challenge was quieting down the censor to get some thoughts down; I had to keep reminding myself that it didn’t matter if they were good or bad. As I forced myself to write, something eventually came out of it.
The other big challenge was trying not to judge a work in progress. In fact, I would still consider most of my posts as “works in progress,” meaning I’ll probably continue to revisit and update periodically. The beauty of the Internet—nothing is fixed, and things can be changed quickly.
I also found that I liked to have several things going on at once. True to form was Newton’s law—an object in motion stays in motion, and an object at rest stays at rest. The Princess’s favorite song, “I Like to Move It,” became my new anthem.
Over the 30 days, writing a post became a part of my daily routine—like brushing my teeth or checking for messages. It got to the point that I felt pretty yucky or incomplete if I didn’t write.
Where do I go from here? I could continue trying to write a post each day and see how long I can keep Blogadays going. Or, challenge myself to write a page per day on a story that I’ve started (I have many).
Or maybe I could try something entirely different—like keep a visual diary where I’d draw or take a bunch of pictures each day. If I’m lucky, I might actually produce a work of art, or even better would be a body of work. I do work fast so it’s entirely possible.
It’ll be similar to my independent painting/drawing class that I took at RISD, in which the instructor challenged us to produce 10-15 pieces by the next day. The whole idea was to concentrate on the process of creating and not the final product. It was hell seeing myself make all this crap, but towards the end I actually made a breakthrough. I remember growing a lot that summer.
Would I do this again? Definitely. I have a fantasy of being discovered by an agent/publisher and being offered a book/movie contract—on what I don’t know. If it can happen to Julie Powell, author Julie and Julia, maybe it can happen to me. Now I need to think of a clever hook. Something with staying power. Something that I can write about indefinitely. Something that’s true to me…