Recap: Week 14

One Million Words Challenge

Week 14

This week was another positive gain. It was less than 1,000 words, but it was a gain and I’ll take it.

Writing by hand, as I’m doing with Black Dog, has proven to be slower than typing. Yet more productive. I get more words out, even if they take longer. It’s easier to think when I write by hand, and I don’t get stuck the way I do typing. Completely worth the extra effort and, in the long run, it’s faster. I just do not look forward to having to type that first draft into the computer for the editing stages. That will be a tedious job.

Here are my totals for the week–

  • Journal 220
  • Letters 929
  • MPs 6,804
  • Black Dog 11,884
  • Total 19,837
  • YTD 201,211
  • Where I should be 268,520

 

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Baby steps to improv, Bob. Baby Steps.

I try to go to a local improv jam on Thursday nights. I can typically only go every other week due to having church small group two Thursdays a month, but I go when I can. It’s a good opportunity to practice being on stage and, perhaps more importantly, to practice failing miserably.

I haven’t been doing improv very long but I know enough to know that most of what happens at the jam is terrible. Really terrible. It’s a bunch of random people doing random things, selling each other out for a laugh and resorting to bathroom humor if a scene dying. Which is often. I have seen a few scenes that weren’t bad but they are few and far between. Anyway, getting up and being a part of that is hard, yet if I’m perfectly honest I know that if it wasn’t ok to be terrible I’d have no place there, I’m not yet good enough to play with the big kids. And as I said, it’s actually been very useful in learning to fail.

To fail and keep going takes practice. To say something stupid and then step up to talk again; to do something that doesn’t make any sense and then to do something else, knowing it probably won’t work either; to be terribly embarrassed and feel like the most awkward human being who has ever walked the earth and then step into another scene; to know before you get on the stage that you are going to beat on yourself on the way home and then get on the stage anyway- it’s great practice. Or the sign of a sick mind. I suppose you could argue that either way.

Last week I felt stupid and clumsy and unintelligent. I stammered and blanked-out and said really inane things. So, of course, I rewound all of what I did and scolded myself for it while I drove home and then I went to bed. The next day I was doing my morning pages and writing through all the stuff I’d done and how I felt about it (I’ve found that to be really helpful, once I’m away from the emotions of the moment. I look at what I did, good and bad, and I’ve started to find patterns.) when I had a revelation- I’d done stuff.

No, really. I’d done enough to have a long list of what I’d “done wrong”. The very first time I did the jam, back in the first week of November, I was so scared that I froze on stage and did not say a single word for the entire set.

Not one word.

30 minutes of standing on the backline staring at our five audience members. Yep. That wasn’t awkward at all. I remember the next time I went I forced myself to speak in one scene, but I didn’t say much. Just a line or two. This time, only two months later, I’m beating on myself for saying stupid things in every scene I did.

Hello? I said things! In scenes, plural. I stepped out in three scenes with no idea of what they would be about or what I would say. Yes, this is one of the main parts of improv but it’s a part I deeply struggle with. I’m a planner. I like plots. I like control. This is why I write, I can clean things up an polish them before anyone knows I’ve even written. So trusting the process and stepping out scares me to death.

I did it three times! Instead of beating myself up for the admittedly terrible improv I did, I need to focus on the fact that I did improv at all.

Baby steps, Bob. Baby steps.

I’m still alive

Despite evidence to the contrary I am alive and this blog has not been abandoned.

I could offer you all sorts of reasons why I haven’t updated, some actually valid.

I’m not going to do so. This blog, if nothing else, is biting hunks out of my pride. I know, normally blogs build pride issues. And I’m certain that if I posted regularly and had tons of comments I would feel proud of myself and my skills. But since I cannot manage to post when I say I will, struggle to find anything to say, and get little to no feedback it becomes something more of a pride crusher.

I am, however, stubborn as a mule. Or so I’ve been told by most everyone who has been an authority in my life. So I am digging in. This blog will not beat me. If it dies it will be because I decide to let it go, not because I just drift away or give up.

All that to say- I am beginning again. Again.

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