Chalain (chalain) wrote,
  • Mood: accomplished
  • Music: The Prettiest Weed (#sworcery) - Jim Guthrie

Keep Writing! Keep Writing! Keep Writing!

NaShoStoMo is a month-long challenge to write 30 stories in 30 days. The rules? Must be at least 200 words long, so none of this cutesy 12-word crap. And it must have a beginning, middle and an end, so none of this 1000-word vignette/visual tone-poem crap, either.

When I was a kid, my grandmother invited me to her writer's group because I was SO talented and SO creative and SO bright. So I wrote a story. I was maybe 13? 14? Old enough to be insufferable yet young enough to still be fragile. Six women over 40 and one 13 year old boy. They tore it to shreds, like a pack of harpy dingoes going after a paraplegic baby. I was old enough to know I was too old to cry, so I didn't.

I didn't realize this, but I stopped writing that day. Oh, I tried. Creative writing in high school was very difficult for me, and now in my old age I can see that it was because my inner editor was ratcheted up to "never let this happen again" proportions. In college I blossomed when I discovered first essays and then technical writing, where the subject matter was defensible as "craft" rather than "art", and I found that, fiction notwithstanding, I loved to write.

I started using Ruby around the same time I started blogging, and I spent most of 2006 appearing on hacker news and the programming reddits. I even made the front page of slashdot once, with "So Beautiful, So Disturbing" but even then, when everyone yelled at me to keep writing, I just couldn't. So though I still had an active muse and could produce good prose in bouts of epiphanic ecstasy, I was still trapped in a need to ALWAYS write good stuff.

And then I turned 40. 3 days later, NaShoStoMo started, and the watchword from day one was "some of these are going to stink, and that's okay".

For some reason, this unlocked me.

Last week, I sat down and tallied up my entire life in fiction output, and realized that between age 5 and age 40, I wrote less than 10,000 words of fiction. That includes my story at age 13 and "So Beautiful, So Disturbing".

So that's what NaShoStoMo means to me. I don't care what I'm writing is crap. Most of it is, in fact. All of it needs editing, and most of it isn't worth the time. But it EXISTS, and I made that happen. I am writing. That's all that matters to me right now.

In the past 27 days I have written over 33,000 words, and expect to knock down another 7,000 by Saturday.

Suck it, dingo harpies.

Keep writing,

David
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