Huzzah! Another successful 10,000 Word month. Now, on to March. In like a lion, out like a moderately sedated lion. There is trepidation surrounding my writing goal this month since I am currently not participating in any of the competitive activities which were the prime movers in my success in months past. That said, I still intend to meet my goals and have ideas for how to get there.
The first is the blog. I’ve found a certain degree of enjoyment in the blogging process even if I haven’t found a specific voice/theme for Warning Signs. You know how sometimes you’ll get an idea that you really want to talk about but it just never seems to arise naturally in conversation? Like you want to say something about something but nobody wants to talk about that thing; blog it, baby. There’s a sense of cleanliness I feel when I get thoughts out, even if no one reads them. Oddly enough, blogs beget blogs. The more I do this, the more I want to do this. This is a quality I need to translate over to fiction writing lest I stumble into labelling myself a “blogger.” For the time being, I prefer being a guy who sometimes writes and occasionally blogs.
Second, revising. I want to fill out the Free Reads section of the blog with some work I’ve written in the past. I think I’ve got four or five I could stick up there but they each require some work, little tweaks here and there to make them better than they are before posting them, so I’ll be working on those as well this month. Now, obviously, I can’t just count the finished product toward my goal, otherwise I’m already done. What I can do, though, is count the difference between the beginning word count and the final word count. There is a risk, of course, of dropping into the negative if I end up cutting too much dross. Danger, intrigue, excitement. See this line:
That line marks 333 words. That’s the amount of writing I need to be doing, per day, every day in order to reach my 10,000 word mark each month. It doesn’t seem like a lot. And it’s not, for this. In the blog 333 words is easy. That took, maybe, ten minutes. But it’s also largely word-vomit. Stream of consciousness is easy; creative narrative is hard. Yeah, I could sit and crap out 333 words of narrative every night before bed if I want it to be terrible. But when it comes down to actually writing something worth reading I need hours to spare, and the motivation to spare them.
There are two points in any given day where I have at least an hour to spare. And hour where I’m not doing anything else; that’s during my commute to and from work. I ride the bus, so, given sufficient elbow room, knocking out about an hours-worth of work seems doable. That’s what I tell myself. Fact is, I think I’ve only managed to ever write on the bus twice.
Years and years ago, I and a friend used to spend our evenings at the local Denny’s drinking coffee bullshitting and drawing (remember, I said I used to draw). Every so often the waitress would come by and refill our coffee and every so often she would ask one of us, “What are you drawing?” He and I both agreed that this particular question was the most annoying thing anyone could ever ask an artist. I considered myself an artist, once. There’s a couple reasons for this, the first is that some words sound ridiculous when spoken aloud. The second is that with a work in progress you don’t always know what it’s going to be until you’re done.
That’s how I feel about writing on the bus. I always get uncomfortable because I’m anticipating the question coming from somewhere, “What are you writing?” Of course, the most rational response to this fear is that I shouldn’t worry about it because nobody cares. The only reason the waitress engaged is because part of her job and her tips is small-talk. Nobody on the bus has anything to gain from bothering me.
Except… If the situation were reversed, which it sometimes is, I would care. If I see someone drawing on the bus, I want to know what they’re drawing. If I see someone writing on the bus, I want to know what they’re writing. If I see someone listening to music on the bus, I want to know what they’re listening to. If I see someone talking to themselves on the bus, I want to know what they’re talking about. People are interesting. Understanding people helps me write more believable characters. Memorizing facial features and movements and behavior helps me make the things on my page more real to a reader. Luckily for them, I’m just not exceptionally outgoing and I know how irritating the question is, so I don’t bother them.
However, as in the case with Face Tattoo, not everyone respects these boundaries. So it’s only a matter of time until I’m dealing with some rando who wants to tell me what my characters should do next. So it’s hard to bring myself to write on the bus.
Phew… That was a long winded excuse.
Anyway, I’ve got a third thing I want to try, but it’s kind of an experiment at the moment so I’m not really going to get into it. Point is, it’s a new month, with a new goal. I’ve still got momentum coming out of February, and I’m hoping to keep it up into April; if slightly diminished.
“On to the dragon!”