1,000 Words of Summer 2021, Day Fourteen a/k/a The Finale

Photo credit: Erwan Hesry on Unsplash

My original plan for this final day of the #1,000WordsofSummer challenge was to write another 1,000 words in my novel, but that’s not what I’m doing.

Instead, my final 1,000 words will be directed to you, the wonderful folks who have accompanied me on this journey. (This means that my post will be a bit longer than usual, but I’m trusting you to handle it.)

Continue reading

1,000 Words of Summer 2021, Day Twelve

Photo credit: Monty Allen on Unsplash

Some days, “better” is good enough.

It helped that I didn’t wait until the wee hours to write, because I’m still exhausted. It’s been a big day in a few ways. I didn’t do a lot of the things on my list, but I did some that came up unexpectedly, plus a few (like mowing the lawn) that I just didn’t want hanging over my head all weekend.

Continue reading

1,000 Words of Summer 2021, Day Eleven

Photo credit: Anh Nguyen on Unsplash

In the law, we often criticize the opposing party’s position by arguing that they’re elevating form over substance. In other words, they’re too concerned about how something is to be done, rather than focusing on the purpose of what’s to be accomplished.

Last night, I elevated form over substance.

Continue reading

1,000 Words of Summer 2021, Day Ten

Photo credit: Isaac Wendland on Unsplash

The author of Ecclesiastes tells us in chapter 3 that there’s a time for every activity under heaven. He even gives us a list of activities, and that list was made into a song back in the 1960s. (He doesn’t say “turn, turn, turn,” but maybe it’s implied.) Unfortunately, his list doesn’t say anything about a time to cease activity—in other words, a time to turn off the computer and (in the words of a very different author) go the f**k to sleep.

I’m not saying this is why I finished revising a motion to quash last night at 1:15 a.m. and then pushed myself to write my 1,000 words. It’s because I know myself well enough to know that if I skipped this one day, that would be the end of the challenge.

Continue reading

1,000 Words of Summer 2021, Day Eight

Photo credit: Austin Neill on Unsplash

Memories can be an excellent jumping-off place.

Tonight, I started with my main character walking in the woods. It’s actually a patch of woods I know, because it’s right in my town. Next thing I knew, she was remembering my memories, albeit tweaked to fit her. She recalled walking along the beach down on the shoreline, dinner in those eighties-style restaurants with lots of blond wood and ferns, and a bar my friends and I frequented in Westport where we drank white sangria and ate boursin and cheese. (I did say it was Westport.)

Continue reading

1,000 Words of Summer 2021, Day Seven

Photo credit: Kal Visuals on Unsplash

Recently, I heard a podcast guest talk about being a “discovery writer.” The term was new to me. The former appellation, which I never liked, was “pantser,” as distinct from a “plotter.” According to common wisdom in the writing world, plotters plan out their books before they begin, often writing lengthy outlines, while pantsers fly by the seat of their pants, writing whatever comes into their heads with no idea what’s coming next.

Continue reading

Anyway

Photo credit: Koushik Pal on Unsplash

Nothing is convenient.

The sooner we learn this fact, the better. (By “we,” I mean me.)

Case in point: my workload was slow for the first half of May. Scary-slow. The kind of slow that makes you think, “Well, this is it. I had a good run, but it’s over.” Like Blockbuster, or the people who made 8-track tapes.

Continue reading

1,000 Words of Summer: Some Final Thoughts

IMG_4263

For fourteen days, I wrote 1,000 words every day. Regardless of whether I had anything to say, I wrote. I produced words, sentences, paragraphs. I met the challenge.

I expected that at the end, I’d have developed a new writing practice that would have me writing 1,000 words a day forever.

What I didn’t expect was to be so freaking exhausted. Continue reading

1,000 Words of Summer, Day Thirteen

sun

Day Thirteen: Done. 1,063 words.

I’m done early today!

Last night, I found myself poking around on my college alumni directory website and Googling random people I recalled from college. I was surprised at who turned up on Google and who didn’t. An idea began to form, along the lines of some of Maeve Binchy’s works where she tells a story by devoting a chapter to each of the characters. And so this morning I started something—maybe a novella, maybe a short novel—involving a handful of former classmates and an impending reunion.

I could easily worry about how the overarching structure, i.e., classmates at a reunion, has been pretty much done to death, but the truth is that Solomon was probably right:

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 1:9.

So I’ll take my shot (another phrase that’s been used before). If it works, great. If it doesn’t, maybe parts of it will be useful elsewhere. And if the entire thing turns out to be crap, at least I tried, and that counts for something.

1,000 Words of Summer, Day Eleven

traffic-stop - artwork on intrinsick

Day Eleven: Done. 1,003 words.

I really didn’t want to write tonight. I’m exhausted and depressed, and the last thing I wanted to do was to focus on creating something. But I had this challenge, and it’s only fourteen days, which isn’t all that much to start with anyway, and this is only the eleventh day which is obviously even less, so I pushed myself to write something because I figured something was better than nothing.

I don’t know if it was or it wasn’t. Maybe it’s like exercise, and sometimes you push yourself to run a mile even when you feel like crap and all you want to do is sit in front of the television and binge-watch Grey’s Anatomy which, for the record, is exactly what I wanted to do except I was never, ever going to be running a mile, except writing 1,000 words felt a lot like running a mile, or at least I assume it does because I don’t run.

So I wrote a ramble which, in case you’re not familiar with rambles, is pretty much like this post except this post is much more organized because it consists of more than one sentence, and the trick with a ramble is to tell an entire story in a single sentence. Tonight’s ramble didn’t really have a plot—in fact, truth be told, it was closer to being a journal entry except I don’t type journal entries, but if I’d done a journal entry in my journal, it would have taken forever because I’d have been doing it by hand and I’d have had to keep stopping to count words instead of just looking at whatever Word said was the length of the document, so typing my ramble was at least faster and lent itself to a greater word count which is how I hit a thousand words at all, and for what it’s worth, this blog post is turning out to be another three hundred and change, which isn’t bad for a ramble although, as I said before, this one isn’t really a ramble since it has several sentences, but it’s not a bad shot at one, so here’s my advice: if you don’t feel like writing and you have to write for some reason, try writing a ramble and see how long you can go on without starting a new sentence because either you’re just going to spew out everything that’s in your brain that’s making you tired and depressed or you’re going to turn a corner and start to have fun with it and either way, there’s no downside (and not for nothing, but I’m now past four hundred words on this blog post, so you see how fast you can get into the habit of continuing to write once you start a ramble).

Oh, and one more thing: sometimes you can even get a ramble published, so that’s another reason to try it, plus if you don’t click on this link, you’ll never know why I used this particular photo today.