How long does it take to break a bad habit? Three days? Two weeks? A month?
Today on Facebook my friend Hannah shared the following meme:
“A page a day?” I thought. “That doesn’t seem like too much.” Thanks to Google, I discovered how many words comprise a page:
#Word document: 250 double spaced or 500 single spaced (font dependent. Apparently a lot of this depends on the font.)
#A4 pad: roughly 200 words
Those numbers felt achievable. Every day I receive an email from 750words cheerily telling me it’s time to do some writing. I smile sweetly as I hit ‘Delete’ on each daily notification. 750 words feels like a lot. It feels like time away from other essential tasks like washing dishes, going through the pile of leaflets shoved through my letterbox that day or catching up on highlights from this year’s Glastonbury Festival (you should give them a wee watch – when you’re not doing any of the above activities of course!).
I could write 250 words on my lunch break. I could squeeze in 50 words shoogling along on the Subway. I could craft 20 words whilst cleaning that weird scum that sometimes appears at the bottom of the food compost bin.
I’ve asked my friends on Facebook to join in so I’m also asking anyone else out there to join us too. 500 words a day is 15500. That’s a book chapter, a collection of short stories, an entire anthology of poetry – whatever you like!
On 1st August, I will share the highlights and, perhaps, the lowlights from my notepad this month. If you’re feeling brave, I hope you will too*.
Would you like to join me in this writing challenge? Leave a comment and let me know!
*For the stats geeks, this post is 298 words long and took me around 15 minutes to write the first draft.
A lot has happened since my last post on this little blog. I gained a job, and lost one. I went back to writing classes and gained some confidence. Then lost it again. Then got it back again. I have been reading up on HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) traits and celebrating how many are part of my personality. I have been thinking a lot about turning thirty next year. I have started taking driving lessons for the first time in over ten years and have lived to tell the tale.
I have dusted off this little old blog and feel ready to dip my toe back into the waters of WordPress.
Water does strange things to my creative brain. I tend to problem solve when I’m in the shower or let my brain chew over tricky writing dilemas. The first story I wrote in years popped into my head while I was grabbing a quick Sunday morning shower. I was so excited that I stopped mid-shower to dash to my desk to scribble down my idea.
Yesterday I was working on a writing sample to send to a special interest website looking for new contributors. I admit, it was not going well and the words were not coming. This morning, as I stumbled to the shower, a flash of inspiration popped into my head. Huzzah, I had reached my Great Conclusion and quickly scribbled down notes before I returned to my ablutions.
I am definitely not alone in this. In a previous writing class, I took along a story to workshop that used water as a running theme (apologies for the bad pun). Another classmate was asked to share their work which featured water as a key element of the story. Although our stories featured our own unique voices, it was still a little odd to hear our different takes on using water as inspiration to write a story.
You never know where inspiration is going to come from. As I learn more about writing, I realise it is not the case of sitting around and waiting for ideas to come to you. This quote, one of many on this topic, really hit home for me:
I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning.
~ Peter De Vries
Of course spontaneous inspiration still happens, with the most famous example being J.K. Rowling’s description that Harry Potter literally popped into her head on a long train journey. That is how I wrote when I was younger, with little planning. Back then, I wrote most days after school when I should have been doing homework.
In the meantime, I’m going to invest in one of these waterproof notepads and show up each morning to be inspired.
Any writer who says they are not intimated by a blank page is a liar. I have not always felt this way. When I was a tweenager, I revelled in the challenge. My first stories were typed on an ancient Mac and stored on floppy discs. Most of them were cheap knock off attempts at fan fiction. One spiralling epic tale revolved around travelling with the Second Doctor Who and his apprentices, Zoe and Jamie.
Sadly I didn’t learn one of the first rules of writing in the digital age: back up and migrate your work. The first ten years of my writing life have been lost to the mists of time, and good riddance to most of it. However I do sometimes miss my unfinished YA novel, modelled on gang culture and competitive sport (not too dissimilar to The Hunger Games) and strange moralist tales about drug use and redemption – probably modelled on reading far too many ‘real life’ magazines at my gran’s house on Saturday afternoons.
This blog is about putting the past behind me. It is not a place for me to mourn past writing failures or about dips in my writing mojo. This blog is my attempt to hold myself accountable, to make sure I plant my bottom in a comfy chair, pick up a pen and do what I’m meant to do: write.