I was debating whether to shut this blog down, but if I did, I would want to move my posts to my personal blog. Some of them contain thoughts that I might like to be reminded of someday, such as how to use contextual embedding or reminders to let my fingers do the work. But moving them seems like a lot of work. It’s probably not, but it’s definitely not the kind of thing I should be investing my time in. So then I remembered the original purpose of this blog — to keep me honest, for myself, about what I’m accomplishing (or not) with my writing. I’m going to try to return to that purpose, which means — yep, writing about not writing.
Yesterday was a word-search day. The kind of day where I’ve got a line — “Would the stranger reveal… something?” — and I know that “something” is not the right word, but I can’t find the word that belongs there. Ten minutes later, it’s “some connection” and then comes an hour away from the computer while I try to let the back of my brain get back to work on finding the right words. Eventually, the line becomes “Would the stranger reveal some connection, the link between Noah and General Directions that he was looking for?”
And then I have to debate ending the sentence with a preposition. Grammatically, it should be “for which he was looking?” but ugh, that’s clunky as anything. Then there’s “looking” — one of the most over-used words, and pretty high on my personal list of problem words. “Looking” isn’t like “said” or “the”, which are essentially invisible. There are times when it comes close, but there are also times when a better word is out there and I just need to find it. Eventually, my sentence becomes “Would the stranger reveal some connection, the link between Noah and General Directions that he was searching for?” At which point, I start to wonder whether my pronoun antecedent (the proper noun to which “he” refers) is clear enough.
At which point I quit writing for the day, having managed something maybe close to 400 words, split as 200 on two different projects.
Is it possible that I have really begun over-thinking what I write? Why, yes, yes, it is. Which is why keeping this casual blog and not spending hours agonizing over each word I type on it is probably good for me. I’m resisting the impulse to delete “really” and “probably” in the past two sentences — also words on my over-used list and also evidence that I’m over-thinking. At some point, it would be nice if not using the words I over-use could become a habit instead of a process of continual second-guessing, but I’m not there yet. And meanwhile, I need to keep writing, which means I need to stop second-guessing myself. There’s a time for revisions and it’s not during the first draft.
Yesterday’s word count: 1000 on a blog post, plus 400 or so of fiction.
Today’s goal: at least 1000 words, Yes, this blog post counts as 500, but it’s like exercise, starting with lower numbers and working your way up. I haven’t managed to write consistently since mid-November, so all my writing muscles have atrophied.
Oh, hmm, that’s an idea. I’m doing (sort of) this 40 day yoga practice. For the first week, it’s a 20 minute session every day. On week 2, it’s a 30 minute session. Week 3, 45 minutes. Week 4, 60 minutes. Week 5 (which frankly seems kind of ambitious), 90 minutes. So maybe I’ll make a 40 day writing practice to go along with it. Week One — starting yesterday — will be a minimum of 1000 words, in whatever form the words take. Blog posts, journalling, bits and pieces. I’m going to have to think about how the goals will stretch — I’d love to hit Week 5 writing 2000 words of fiction a day, but like the yoga, that seems ambitious. Still, ambitious is good, right? I need to be more ambitious.
I’m going to go do my 20 minutes of yoga now and contemplate my 40-day Writing Practice, and how it should work. Tomorrow, I’ll have a plan. But I hope the thing that makes me feel cheerful about this plan isn’t that it lets me off the hook for writing 1000 words of fiction today. Writing more should always count as better and reaching my stretch goals ahead of time is a good thing, not a bad. Although with the yoga, I’m definitely still trying to figure out some of the moves in the podcast, so I’m not going to be stretching. Well, I will be literally stretching, but I won’t be pushing to try to do the longer podcasts until it’s time.
Ugh, what an incoherent post. Oh, well, words, more words, At least my fingers are moving. I hope they move as quickly, if more coherently, for Noah and Rose.