You see that black cat in the background of this picture? That’s Genghi, and I think that’s the first cool thing he’s done in his life.
Don’t get me wrong, he’s sweet, but he gets in more trouble than most toddlers. There’s no reasoning with that guy. If he needs to borrow your car, he just gets in it and goes. Never chips in for gas, never cleans up his snacks. And he’s been late on his rent every month since we bailed him out of prison on Santa Monica. I’m tired of his shit.
Today has been a challenging day for writing, mainly because I’m stuck on my outline. I won’t be forever, but I keep going back to chapter two and wondering, “Is there enough conflict here? Have I sufficiently laid the groundwork for ensuing conflict?”
It’s funny, because usually chapter one is more difficult than the one that follows. There’s so much pressure on the opening pages of a novel. You have to hit it just right, because when a reader picks up your book, they’re probably not going to sit down and read 100 pages. If their first 100-word glance into your world isn’t gripping, they’re out of there.
In this case, however, I love chapter one. I think the beginning of chapter two will be ok. I just need to escalate things a little. I need to take a sincere dump on my protagonist. Give her another disaster to deal with. Make something happen.
I came up with an idea while I was washing dishes after dinner, and I think I’m going to throw it in the mix and see what happens.
Today, so far, has been a low word count sort of day. I had to watch my nieces for a little while, and this morning, the baby decided to get up with me…. at 4:30am.
There was a time when I dreaded the morning, but now, the crepuscular glow of the sun warms me as I set to work.
I usually get up at this hour to make my husband lunch before work, as well as to throw in the wash, do a half hour of yoga, make my to-do list, and schedule those tasks into Google calendar. These tasks completed, I write until the baby wakes up, feed her, and play with her until second breakfast. Also, coffee. I may put off breakfast, but I never put off coffee.
Today, however, that routine got completely scrambled, which is alright, I suppose. You gotta break the mold sometimes.
Let me save you some time:
There is nothing interesting in this post.
But I said I was going to write 1,000 words today, damn it, so here we are, right here, right now, writing words. I don’t want you to throw away minutes of your life that you could spend doing something infinitely more important, like combing your dog or picking your teeth or eating whatever leftovers you have in the fridge. If you stop reading this now, that’s fine. I just have to do this. I hope you understand.
Mmmmmmmmmmmmm, ginger tea.
Muggy air, some beeping truck outside. Perfect sleeping conditions. The scenic bellow of drunken whoever-the-fucks bantering outside my kitchen window is soothing, too.
Also, what the fuck is up with this dishwasher? I thought it was broken, but I hear the fucker going. Is that normal? Is this to plan? Is it haunted? Should I hire a priest? Hey, do priests do freelance exorcisms? I think that would be a fantastic side hustle for a holy man, if praying for money doesn’t work, which it won’t.
603 words so far.
Once I reach 900, we’re in the clear.
So let’s prattle on and on and on, shall we?
I wish I had the cognitive wherewithal to work on my article right now, but I’m beat, man. This was a busy Saturday. It’s amazing how much a jumbled morning can really rock the rest of your day around. I still got my thousand words done. Yes sir’ee, here they are.
This reminds me of when I used to work at a convenience store (shout out: Hi Bill!). We had checklists of tasks that had to be completed on every shift, whether we wanted to do them or not. That’s just the way you have to run a business. You can’t wine and cry whenever you have to mop a floor, because guess what, that shit still has to get mopped. Same thing with writing. If it’s your job, show up for it.
You know, sometimes I like to browse internet writing forums in search of useful information. I’m always curious about how other writers approach their work, and hey, there’s always the chance of having an “Aha!” moment. Thing is, many writers insist upon waiting to feel “inspired” before they set to work, even if that means waiting around for weeks, setting aside their projects, taking up drawing, etc.
I can’t get behind this attitude.
I used to, but I can’t anymore. Because it’s a terrible system that never results in a finished book.
I have a new rule with myself: only start writing projects that you’re committed to finishing. If you know that you won’t have the drive to see a particular piece through, don’t waste your energy on it. Find one that you will. And even when you find that perfect gem of a masterpiece to flush hours of your life away upon, you will still have to force yourself to work through the dry spells. You won’t always feel inspired, but that’s ok, you don’t have to feel inspired. You just have to keep wrestling with your ideas, squeeze them around a little bit, and make something work.
But for fuck’s sake, don’t fucking quit.
Even 100 words a day is better than nothing. I used to do that, actually. When I felt like I was really grinding the gears with “Warmth,” I used to tell myself to just write 100 words a day, and this somehow freed me up enough to write 1,000. It’s all a trick. Just make yourself show up.
Speaking which, I just hit my word count mark for the day.
See you guys tomorrow! It was nice seeing you, and I’m being serious.