1,000,000


(via StoryPeople)

Starting today, March 20th, 2013, I am on a quest to write 1,000,000 words in 1 year.

Let’s allow that to sink in.

That is like doing NaNoWriMo 20 times in 12 months.

I didn’t say it was smart.

I didn’t come up with the idea, I found it through a link on Twitter. There is a group of writers who are each writing 1,000,000 words in 2013. I immediately saw the value but I was already about 80,000 words behind and that seemed like a rather large handicap to start off with on something that is already insanely impossible. Still, I couldn’t get it out of my mind.

My mom’s first reaction when I mentioned it to her in passing, with no intention of doing it, was “You don’t have time.” To which I answered, “I know.”

Then I go started thinking. She is right, I don’t have time. I’m working, taking a medical transcription course, moving this summer, going to Chicago for 5+ weeks this summer, helping my sister with her wedding, taking improv classes, making stuff to sell on Etsy, and trying to start running. I don’t have time to write that much. I really don’t.

Which means that if I don’t do this I won’t write that much. Maybe not much at all. A book or two, maybe a spec script. And at the end of next winter I will still be years away from from my goal of writing for a living. If I do not make time, even where there is no time, then it won’t happen. That frightens me more than sleep deprivation and carpal tunnel.

To do this it comes out to 2,740 words per day. I found doing NaNo this past year that I can write about 1,000-1,500 words an hour, on average. (When I focus and don’t let myself stop, which is another issue entirely). That equals 14-21 hours a week. I’m going with the assumption of 21, though hopefully that will drop as I go along. That felt insane until I realized that if I was taking 16 hours at school I’d undoubtedly spend more than 5 hours a week doing homework. Writing 1,000,000 words will get me far closer to my goals in life than sitting in a classroom will, this I know for sure.

I picked March 20th because it is the first day of spring. A season of growth, of new starts, of beginnings. A good time to start a project.

Following the general rules of the people I took this idea from the following writing will count toward my total-

  • Books
  • Articles
  • Short Stories
  • Blog Posts
  • Scripts
  • Letters
  • Journaling
  • Words Added in Editing

These things will not count-

  • Status Updates
  • Tweets
  • Texts
  • Notes
  • “Here’s my address”-type Emails

I’ll keep a weekly running total here, so everyone can see what I’m writing and how much.

Anybody wanna join me?

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Where are all the good ideas?

 

When someone says to me, “I don’t have any good ideas… I’m just not good at that,” I ask them, “Do you have any bad ideas?”

Nine times out of ten, the answer is no. Finding good ideas is surprisingly easy once you deal with the problem of finding bad ideas. All the creativity books in the world aren’t going to help you if you’re unwilling to have lousy, lame, and even dangerously bad ideas.

The resistance abhors bad ideas. It would rather have you freeze up and invent nothing than take a risk and have some portion of your output be laughable. Every creative person I know generates a slew of laughable ideas for every good one. Some people (like me) need to create two slews for every good one.

One way to become creative is to discipline yourself to generate bad ideas. The worse the better. Do it a lot and magically you’ll discover that some good ones slip through.

~Seth Godin, Linchpin

 

This applies to every creative area of my life. And yours too, I’d wager. I immediately thought of improv and of how very often I freeze on stage. I don’t know what to say, nothing in my head sounds right; I shuffle through eighteen different phrases and then I realize it’s been too long and now the pause is awkward. I will say nothing rather than risk saying the wrong thing.

But while I was typing up the paragraph I realized how many other areas of my life this applies to as well. Blogging, for one. How often do I lament that I can’t think of any good ideas for posts? (answer? Every day) Yet how often do I sit at the table and write 25 terrible ideas down, just to see if a good one slips in? Almost never.

It’s too scary. If I have a good idea then I have no reason to not write. And if I write I have to post. And if I post you can read it. And if you read it you might not like it, or might think it was a bad idea, or might criticize it, or might even laugh at me (meanly). And if you do those things I might go into a spiral of hysterics and never recover. So simply avoiding having ideas at all is a much less mentally and emotionally dangerous.

 

Imagination Dogs

Seth Godin stepped on my toes last week. Talker’s Block. Go read that link right now.Ouch.

I know he’s undoubtedly onto something here- I’ve been doing Morning Pages for 2 months now, 3 pages every freakin’ day before I even get dressed, and I have to say that I’m already getting into a groove and not getting stuck like I was. Not that it’s easy most days. I can think of 150 things to do with that 30-45 minutes while I sit there, it takes stubbornness to keep my butt in the chair. It’s worth it though, so very worth it.I have been thinking about writer’s block a lot lately because I have a lot to say but when  I  go to say it nothing happens, I leave with a blank screen. Short stories stay in my head because I can’t seem to get them onto the page, nothing sounds right. I’ve heard the advice to just write, whatever. I’ll claim to do that but I don’t really- the voice in my head is tricky and it says, “I’ll pretend this is free flowing but secretly I’ll plan it so it’s witty and fun when it comes out”. Which never works. Improv has started calling me on that game. I can try to be smart and plan things out while I stand on the sides, but as soon as I step onto the stage the person I’m working with will fail to receive my telepathic signals that I have this great trash truck idea all worked out and will start yelling for me to rescue his hamster out from between the couch cushions. Busted, and now scrambling to catch-up.

I am attempting to switch that over into my writing and it works both beautifully and terribly. Terribly because it’s some of the worst writing I’ve ever done. Beautifully because it’s by far the best writing I’ve ever done.

Apparently good writing is like having these little imagination dogs living in my head. I feed them ideas and books and adventures and then they produce writing and leave little piles of it scattered around in my mind for me to put down on paper. Piles of imagination dog crap, with itty bitty gold flakes mixed in. The more crap I collect, and write down, the more gold flakes I get; but also the more crap I have to write down and then deal with. That’s one reason I now have a pile of legal pads by my desk, pages filled with inane ramblings and disjointed, repetitive thoughts. Getting out the crap.

Stellar Stella

My project this weekend is the Stella Hat. This is my 5th cast-on of the same hat, the first 4 were ripped out with extreme prejudice. But this time round is coming along nicely. Also, I switched yarns. My first attempts were with acrylic and I just didn’t like it. This is a bamboo/wool blend I’d been wanting to try and I LOVE it. Super soft and easy to work with, plus it shows the stitches clearly.

Below is a chair my sister Sara painted this week. Such a great idea! One I’m going to steal if I ever move somewhere large enough to have furniture.

Are you working any any crafty projects this weekend that you’d like to share?

If you cannot paint…

If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. ~Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh said it more than 100 years before Steven Pressfield or Seth Godin started the discussion. The Resistance, the Lizard Brain, will only be shut-up by two things; Either you quit, or you commit.

If you dabble around and you think about painting (or singing or drawing or acting or whatever) and consider painting and put a stoke on now and again when the mood strikes and wonder what it would be like to do this full time then the voice will never be silenced. It will only leave you in peace if you give up or if you work enough to leave it behind.

(Though each day you will have to work for a bit to leave it behind again)

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