Saturday, December 24, 2011

Write Christmas

It's the holiday break, and I'm three chapters into the eight chapter quota I set for myself. In the middle of the third, I happened upon a turn of phrase which made me rethink the naming conventions of the books involved with my little project. Which is not to say the name the books have were flippantly decided, nor is it to say that I haven't said the names over a hundred times to myself already, and even grown quite comfortable with them. What I'm saying is that the line that came out of me made so much sense, and tied things up so nicely, that I was happy I didn't get the first manuscript through, that I still have time to make it really, really good. A royalty report I got recently leads me to believe that there just might be a window for me to sneak through to make a market for myself. To that end, I'm pretty grateful, and am going to do my due diligence.

But I'm thankful for small things, too, this season. I unexpectedly found some soda in the back of the pantry and a new, tasty flavor of ramen, for instance.

I have totally botched the short story, though. I just remembered the other day that it was even on my list of things to do. I have no plans to make time for it during the break, as it turns out I've miscalculated how much off time I actually have off, so the eight chapters is going to be a bit of a hustle. I expressed to a co-worker my thoughts that I needed a new hobby, and she said "writing is your hobby." My immediate retort was "writing isn't a hobby, not for me." It felt like a comfortable thing to say, and I didn't have to snap it out either. It had the calm ring of truth.They say Stephen King writes everyday, even on his birthday, even on Christmas. I'm set to be like him tomorrow in that very specific way, and it feels kind of right.

May you be merry tomorrow, if for no other than to greet another day.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bitten by what couldn't be chewed

Work for the year is finally done. Well, the work I perform in an attempt to make a living, at least. I have eight chapters to write before I return on the 3rd and somehow, looking back over things, I thought I'd be farther along than I am. That includes progress on this blog, as well.

In other news, I finally have some sort of concept for what I'm doing with my twitter account. I call it the 140 Characters Project, that is to say, 140 tweets of 140 different characters, each no more than 140 characters.

An example:

Going without made her go within:red walls,kinky carpet,locked doors.Looked fine to her.She wrote wish lists,put to music,asking why not her 

I plan on celebrating my progress at each of the four quarters (at 35, 70, 105 and 140) , the first of which is a dozen or so tweets away. I realize even if I wrote one a week (which I'm not), it would still be a labor of some years. Somehow, though, I can't back off my initial statement. I think about conversations about goal setting. The reachable ones are laudable, granting one a feeling of accomplishment and what not, but the untenable ones create a more constant surge of energy, and on the off chance that one completes it... well, that's just magical.

I was north of the perimeter last night, and the acquaintance of a friend and I dueled with glances. I knew of him, and he of me, but we didn't really know each other. Eventually, he made his way over to where I had entrenched myself and asked if I was who I was. I replied in the affirmative. His next question stunned me a bit: "You wrote a book, right?" And it surprised me because the friend who linked us together didn't like the book. He's one of the few people I've spoken to who didn't, which I can live with, but I figured that sort of distaste would prevent him from telling people about my efforts. Nothing more was said, though; I was too busy with what I was doing and guffawing. Later that evening I called a different friend and he said, "Can I call you back, I'm on the other line with my brother. He's buying your book," and at that point, I began to maybe think I have some really good people behind me, willing me forward.

The weather outside is far from frightful, but it is Georgia. So it could turn for the worse any second. And that wouldn't necessarily be the most awful thing for me. My life has been unusually social of late. I want to blame that activity on my decreased writing pace. I want to blame someone. But whether or not things continue to proceed in this pattern, or if they taper off expectantly, the same work I've set for myself will still need doing. And so I will do it. At least, that's what we're going with today.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fail-yours too

I wonder if failure and success work in the same way that heat and cold do, the latter not being something in and of it self, but simply a lack of the former. For instance, failure can also create a place holder, make space for future success. I wasn't able to write the short story before December 1, but I did double up on the writing for the novel. Ultimately, I fell short of my goal, but I don't feel any worse off for it. An artist friend of mine spent the month creating many, many pieces, the goal being a number with three digits. When she was finished, she said, "I think in the future I need to set more unobtainable goals," a statement whose wisdom could only be observed through scrutiny. In any event, the writing this past weekend went well, and not so well. That is to say perfectly.

A business meeting of mine got cancelled, the first of any of its kind. A person I was introduced to wanted to discuss with me the topic of ghost writing. It took me a days to even agree, and weeks after that to wonder at what sort of things I should be bringing to that table. Some authors I knew had mixed opinions about the subject. A few even remarked their distaste for ghost writing, citing it as inherently dishonest. I had to admit that that had never occurred to me, but that it was easy to be disgusted about with some thought. I work at a school, and one of the things beaten into young minds at every level is that plagiarism is a capital offense (yet they say great artists steal). Either way it all stayed academic, because the meeting got cancelled. Or should I say rain-checked, so I guess the jury is still out on my feelings on the subject. I like that I've grown into someone who will try something, or at least listen to a reasonable presentation.

The outline is projecting forward into the new year, and I'm happy with what I'm set to accomplish. At the beginning of the year, it was a goal to complete four books. I'm done with three, and am a good bit into the fourth. It doesn't look like I'll be finished by the stroke of midnight, but I still come away satisfied. Then again, my blog numbers have also slipped considerably when compared to last year. I wonder what to think. I wonder what to think, and then I usually end up writing, which keeps me satisfied.

But I was speaking of dissatisfaction, of pushing for the sake of the brink, and at what point does one's frantic pace cease to be a good thing and became negative? And at what point does a dip in productivity become complacency?

All I know is that I don't know, a favorite quote of mine. I have a few others up on a wall at work, in a small room with a desk people are starting to call my office. One, recently thumb tacked, was a nugget mined from the essay of one of my students. Short, yet poignant: maybe we're not broken.

Maybe nothing's wrong at all.