Friday, 15 September 2017

[ 200 crappy words a day ]

In the past six months or so, I haven't written as much as I would like. The things in my head are just as prolific as they have always been, but the desire to follow through hasn't been as strong.

Or maybe it has, but my ability to let it all flow out of me like turning on a tap has stumbled somewhat. Ideas and stories and conversations have filtered through, some of them barely half-assed fragments, but getting them out hasn't seemed as easy as it once was.

There are a dozen or so drafts sitting here, just kind of taking up space, and I reread them sometimes and see if it all starts flowing again. Mainly, it just trickles.

Which is ok really. I know why this is, some of you even know why this is, and it is what it is. Strangely, I'm ok with that.

A while back I had another little episode of what I called 'writers block' (it wasn't, but I called it that). The ideas were still there, but I had even less ability then to get them out than I do now. And I guess that's why I feel ok about this bout.

Because I recognise it for what it is. I went through something awful and powerful and it took something away from me. It took a lot away, to be honest, and it hurts to realise how much it took later than it just took at the time.

The weird thing is this though; it gave something back. Or the void filled in; nature abhors a vacuum and all that. I'm still figuring out the things it gave back, opened up, and showed me. New things, shitty things, good things. But different things.

In that vein, I've become more chilled about life than I ever thought I could be. The highly strung version is no more, and this confident, clever (mostly), motivated woman is in her place.

But she's not always motivated or clever or even that confident. And that's ok. Which seems simple, but stills comes as a surprise.

I wanted to be a writer. I want to be a writer. I want for people to read my work and think. Then think some more. And laugh, and cry, and discuss. Mainly, I just want to write and keep writing until I physically can't anymore. And then, I may dictate.

But last month I think I only posted two pieces, as opposed to my previous once-a-week habit. Last week, I wrote nothing. This week, well, this week, I wrote this.

Since childhood, I've read voraciously, and continue to do so. Currently breezing through 3 books of utterly different genres (a book of death magic, a Norse novel, and an unconventional 'self-help' book), I've come across that phrase again...

200 crappy words a day

I've actually heard it so many times, it's a wonder I haven't started chanting it over my laptop. Which makes the next thing even more ridiculous; I haven't been following this little pearl of wisdom. Something I can wax lyrical about for hours and hours.

Instead, I avoid writing by scrolling through social media until I feel mildly unwell, in a state similar to eating too much sugar. I scoff and scoff and scoff and scoff still more.

Variously, this doesn't always end badly, but to take the metaphor further, there's a difference between scoffing a bag of liquorice all-sorts and scoffing a tub of Sara-Lee. Both will make you feel dreadful, (generally) only one will make you hurl.

So I've made a promise to myself, via this post. Littered with prepositions, repetitive connecting words, and unfortunate sentence-structure choices, I'm still going to do it. I'm still going to write 200 crappy words a day. 

Because - it's taken me a while to put the dots together, gods forgive me - I need to. I believe in myself and in that belief is the unshakable knowledge that I can get through anything. Really.

Let's put it this way; if multiple near-death experiences, heartbreak, and sadness didn't stop me, writers stumble, shall we call it, isn't exactly going to make a great dent.

Here it is then. My challenge to myself on a random Thursday in September; write more. Write so much more. And then, write more than that.

Write about old stuff, write about dodgy deeds, write those silly rants. Some of it will be good, some of it will be ok, some of it will be not-quite-average. Actually, most of it will be. But damn, that feeling when you get something out. There is nothing like it.

Because all of it will be my words. Stuff I wrote. And here's the thing; it's not necessarily the end-product you can be proud of. Sometimes, you can just be proud of the process.


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