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?

So, I printed a book tonight

Tonight I printed out my book, working title is Temps, at Office Max. When the man helping me walked over I thought he had picked up a ream of paper to refill the machine. Then he sat it down in front of me and asked for my money. I stared at him, deer in the headlights.

 CAM00093

     My naive idea that it wouldn’t be too hard to do this thing was destroyed tonight. I knew it would be a lot of pages. I didn’t know it would be stack heavy enough to kill someone if I drop it on their head.

10 Greatest Things of 2011

I typically sit down and work on my goals list twice a year, using that time to review the last six months, but the review in December is always a little more in-depth. It has less to do with the January 1st craze and more to do with my birthday falling into that week between Christmas and New Year’s, I’ve found that turning a year older prompts me to consider my life more deeply and it just so happens that it occurs in conjunction with the new year.

Anyway, I’d already finished my new goals for 2012 before I read this post but I liked the questions he asked so much that I did the review anyway- they made me think. I’d recommend going through it now, especially if you didn’t take the time already to think about last year. For me, it’s not “making resolutions”, as I said, I set goals twice a year. But reviewing the previous year helps me to see what did and did not go well, and reveals if I am actually getting any closer to some of the big things I want to accomplish in life.

After doing the entire review I reread it and noticed something interesting. But we’ll come back after I show you the first question: The 10 Greatest Things That Happened To Me In 2011.

 

  1. Moved to Minnesota
  • This involved a Southern woman tackling a 1,500+ mile road trip in the snow, white-outs, a visit with good friends, and frostbite.
  1. Joined Sovereign Grace Church
  • First time I’ve been a member of a church since my teens, a scary/exciting step for me.
  1. Moved into an apartment with 2 awesome roommates
  1. Started a job at Bethany
  • Fear alert! This was/is the scariest job I’ve ever had. Also the hardest and yet most fun.
  1. Learned to knit
  • After a fashion. Things turn out, but they don’t always match the pictures.
  1. Saw my first improv show
  • It was an Improv-A-Go-Go show at HUGE, and it was not what I expected. Three of the four groups did not impress me and I likely wouldn’t have gone back if not for the fourth. So glad they were there!
  1. Learned to do the improvs
  1. Wrote a fictional story in my own voice
  • Yes! And it was fun! And I just got my first ever rejection letter when I tried to sell it! Now I feel like a real author.
  1. Payed Matt back all the money I owed him
  • It only took me 2 years…
  1. Went home for Christmas
  • And it was lovely to see my whole family in one together for the first time in a long time.

 

I was looking through that list when it struck me- I didn’t consciously put only things I actively did on there but that’s how it worked out.

The greatest things of 2011, the things I most enjoyed or that most changed my life, were all things I choose do to. None of them just happened to me; every one of the above items took effort and time, and most cost money to boot, which meant more time and effort to get said money. No one is going to hand me an awesome life. Do I receive gifts? Of course! All the time. And all of these things involved other people. But none of them would have happened if I hadn’t put effort in as well, in some cases a lot of effort (example- calluses from both knitting and writing so much).

My list of things to do this year is longer and more ambitious than last year, though tempered with the knowledge that life changes so quickly. Example? This time last year I was still living with my parents in TX, no job, no church, a ball of yarn that I couldn’t even get on the needles, and I’d never even considered going to watch an improv show. There’s no way I could have foreseen where I’d be now and some of the goals I set last year were derailed along the way.

That’s ok. I’d rather have goals and have to set them aside for more interesting things that come up than to wander aimlessly around and get very little done because I don’t know what I’m going after.

I urge y’all to go to this site and download his 2011 review, then take 30-60 minutes to fill it out. It’s well worth the time.

2012

This is going to be an exciting year! Admittedly, most every year of my life is exciting but I’m extra pumped for this one. Last year was a year of major changes and I am continuing to follow through on them this year.A few of my favorite memories form last year-

  • Moved 1,500 miles, from TX to MN
  • Learned to knit
  • Wrote a short story I’m actually happy with
  • Discovered improv
  • Got my teeth fixed
  • Joined a church

Most of those carry over to this year as well. I’m not planning to move again this year, I miss the South on a regular basis, especially New Orleans, but MN is my home for now. It’ll be weird to stay in one place for more than a year but I’m going to give it a try.

My knitting is coming along nicely but I’m not very good at finishing projects. And unfinished projects are useless, so I want to focus on getting things done. I got a drop spindle for my birthday from my folks so a goal for this year is to learn to spin yarn. We’ll see how that goes.

I have several more short stories in the works, at various stages of completion. I’ve dug out a couple I started in the past and I’m attempting to finish them. Again, I’d like to work on completing things instead of just starting them and moving on. My ADD side hates that, I love to dabble but sometimes I need to finish what I start. And a few of these old stories have good bones, they just need to be finished.

Improv. What to say? Improv was the number one surprise of the year, and possibly the highlight. I saw my first show in March, having NO idea of what to expect and hated ¾s of it. But the ¼ I didn’t hate captured my imagination and sparked this crazy passion I now have. I signed up for my first class, started in April, as something fun to try but with no thought of ever doing anything more with it. It has turned into so much more, and I love it. Expect to see a lot of posts this year about improv and what I’m learning through it.

My teeth were a big deal. I broke a notch out of my front two when I was in elementary school. They’d been broken so long that when I finally got them fixed this summer I felt shy and hesitant, convinced they were too big. They certainty felt too big! Now I’ve adjusted to them and love them, it’s amazing how such a tiny thing can have such a massive impact on my self-image. Seriously, I’ve spent my entire life smiling in a way to ensure that they didn’t show. Now when I smile in a picture I try to remember to not do that, and I feel like a different person. This spring I’m supposed to have all 4 wisdom teeth taken out, something I’m not looking forward to in the least. And then we’ll talk about braces. I’m still on the fence about those.

I joined Sovereign Grace Community Church this summer. First time I’ve been a member of a church since my teens. Sometimes it still feels weird but it’s a good weird. I’ve had to adjust to people caring about me and noticing if I’m there or not. Honestly, the first few times someone asked why I’d missed church the week before it made me angry. It’s none of their business. But God has been showing me that it’s OK to let people see me, to notice me. It’s part of being in community. Not an easy part for me, Ms Independent to the extreme, but it’s a lesson I need to learn.

I have a lot of big goals for this year, crazy ones. Sometimes I look at them and I look at how many hours are in a week and I shake my head. Still, I’ve wasted a lot of time in my life and I don’t want to look back at 2012 and see the same pattern. I want to do stuff!

So…

What did you do last year that changed your life?

What are you doing this year to change it even more?

3/30

3/30.

 

That’s the new count on my 30×30 list. As of 6/25/11 I have “Tried Acting”.

 

It wasn’t what I expected when I wrote the list, I had visions of traditional theater in my mind- the lights, the props, the script. Well, I had the lights. The rest? Not so much.

 

I was part of a student show at the end of my improv class over at ComedySportz. There was a decent crowd, maybe 50 people? And I made a blooming idiot of myself in front of them. The best being the time I completely forgot what game I was playing and started playing a different one instead. My instructor just shook his head at me and called a time-out.

 

My other highly embarrassing moment was when I was supposed to be yelling out actions that started with the letter’s J & H- things like jogging heavily, jumping high, juggling hamsters, etc. I meant to yell “Jackalope Hunting” but instead jumped to center stage, put my hands on my hips, and confidently yelled “Jackalap!”. Well, it received a roar of laughter from the crowd but it also earned me a whistle from the referee and a boot off the stage.

 

Through this 10 week experience I did discover one unexpected thing-

 

I have an addiction to improv.

 

It was fast and hard. I LOVE improv. I love watching it and I love doing it. So, if all goes well, I’m taking level 2 this fall from the same place AND level 1 at a different theater. And yes, the classes do overlap a bit so for a month or so I’ll be doing improv twice a week. I’m rather psyched about that. I’m looking forward to the chance to improve and grow my skills, and to meet folks with similar interests.

 

So, back to the point of this post- 3 down, 27 to go. It’s a long list and I’ve got to pick up the pace considerably if I’m going to make it. Several of the goals are in progress right now, I’ll do a post soon with updates on those. Others are in the far future and are not even being considered at this point. And, of course, I also have my 6 month goals I recently updated for the 2nd half of 2011. 12 of those, 2 in each of 6 categories. I also work full time. And I’m joining the church I’ve been attending so I’m going to have small group two nights a month starting around Sept. And I’m looking for at least 1 more writing critique group to join.

 

I am going to be a busy little bee this fall.

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