Tune today is from two piece Australian band, Holy Holy. This one’s called History and is from their recent album When The Storms Would Come.
Current chain of writing days: 32
Last month I participated in a writing challenge. The challenge was given by me to me and I was the only participant, but still, I feel like it was a great success. The challenge was to write 600 words every day with the end goal being a solid chain of days of continually writing that I would then be loath to break. Guess what? It worked! I loath it, I loath it like crazy. That chain is the most important thing in my life. Sorry friends and family but you mean nothing to me now.
Seriously though, setting myself that goal did work wonders and was easier than I would have thought. Last year, when I competed in NaNoWriMo and was writing 2,500 words a day for an entire month it got hard, real hard, but that didn’t happen this time. Obviously the lower word count helped. On a good day I could get my 600 words done before I even left for work in the morning, other days I’d get it done on my lunch break, and there were days where it took hours and was like pulling teeth. Not my teeth, of course, that’d be gross. Someone else’s, who really didn’t want to give up those teeth. Easter was the hardest day and this was because I plum forgot. I was too busy having fun times until around 11pm when the horrible realisation that I was an hour away from breaking the chain hit. So, I wrote. With sleepy eyes and tipsy fingers I smashed out 600 of the most basic words you’ve ever read, but you know what? I had another link in the chain.
On that note, I have some tips for future me, or anyone else thinking of giving themselves a similar challenge.
- Get the writing done early. Like real early. Wake up at four in the morning and write whatever dribbles out of your fingers just so you can go back to bed. Then, when you wake up again at a normal time, hey! Writing’s done! And, you can even write better, arguably coherent, words later in the day.
- Every day is a new day. Avoid using excess words to count towards the next day’s limit. The idea is to get into the habit of writing every day and that can’t happen if you’re giving yourself every second day off. You know what happens to people who do that? That’s right. They get their teeth pulled out. Not reaching your limit but promising yourself you’ll make up the difference the next day is also a big no no. Possibly the biggest of no nos, because that harmless snowflake of a promise to yourself will snowball and before you know it you’ll be buried under an avalanche of words. Just write every day.
- Have a garbage project. By this I mean, in addition to having that one awesome this-is-going-to-rock-everyone’s-world writing project, have another one that will make people physically sick just by reading it and/or want to rip their teeth out. Or, at least have a project that you don’t feel so strongly about. This way, on those days when your writing juices are all backed up, or you’ve forgotten to write because you’ve been eating chocolate all day (while also celebrating the rebirth of our main man JC), when you know whatever you write will likely be trash words, great! Dump them in the garbage project. You might even find that the no pressure premise of the garbage project means you try something a bit different and actually end up writing something you kinda like. Or, if not you can just bury that garbage project into the deepest recesses of your hard drive where no one, NO ONE, will ever find it. Either way, you’ll still get your word count and will still have practiced the act of writing for another day.
- Just start. You may feel the need to think ‘I will write my 600 words, as I don’t want Damian to rip my teeth out if I don’t, but I’ll wait until later when I’m feeling more inspired’. That likely won’t ever happen and then guess what? I’m ripping your teeth out, and then it gets super awkward between us. Neither of us want that. And what am I meant to do with all those teeth? Start a collection? I don’t want to be that guy. Waiting for inspiration is a fool’s game. You know when the right time to write is? When you have time to write. Sit down, write a sentence, maybe, ‘Please, Damian, don’t pull out my teeth,’ and go from there. Likely once you start inspiration will actually find you.
- When you complete your word limit everyday be sure to pat yourself on the back. Take your hand, reach it behind yourself, and start patting. If it feels awkward and kind of lame, you’re doing it right. Or, if you’re like me, make a cross on the calendar. Or do your own thing. Scratch a series of lines into a wall, prison style. Get a new dog every time you reach your word limit. Add another battery to the battery draw. Get a series of Garfield tattoos. Whatever you want! Just make sure it’s visual so as it grows you can look at it and feel really good about the number of days you’ve been writing for, which hopefully also inspire you to keep going. And smile! Because guess what, friend. You’ve kept all your teeth.
Finally, as I haven’t shared any quality Cool Things From the Internet lately I thought I’d throw up this video I saw the other day. It’s basically just two guys injecting ink into water but thanks to their superb use of background music, close ups, and slow mo’s, it’s actually incredibly haunting and beautiful.
Remember, life will always be hard and that’s okay.