I made a pledge to myself a little while ago to write at least 1000 words a day. While I have been trying to keep this pledge, I have been failing – horribly. I think one of the reasons for this is that I open one of the several short stories I am currently writing and run into an inability to move the plot forward. I listen to the many doubting voices in my head (voices that, as much as Anne Lamott tries to get me to ignore, creep in there anyway) and close the document. I write maybe a blog post, maybe an e-mail (which I contend doesn’t really count) and move on to other things. Laundry. Dishes. I avoid writing with housework.
Today I am making another pledge to myself and editing my pledge. Observing people and things and writing about them counts as writing. I go into the bookstore and sip on a latte as I ponder the lifestyle choice of the man browsing Hustler magazine in the corner, that’s writing. I savor a giant cookie as I flirt with the cute college student at the table next to me, that’s writing too. As long as I write about it. And he doesn’t see it.
I’m not trying to publish anything here. I’m trying to keep my craft sharp so that some day when I do decide to move from the amateur to the public realm I’m ready. So what if I’ve been working on the same short story since June? Who cares? I just have to keep reminding myself of this. No one cares. No one reads it unless I give it to them. No one is grading me (but me).
So I’m going to try again to aim for 1000 words a day. Even if it’s just a diatribe about stupid people at the grocery store. I’m really going to try.