Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Day 1: 500 or less (but actualy 685)

I’ve had a lifelong struggle as a writer. Creativity wages war on Perfectionism. Perfectionism turns around and forms a secret alliance with Laziness and they lay siege to Creativity, hoping to starve it into submission.

I love words, especially words spoken. I love crafting them. The well-crafted spoken word is the most triumphant and inspiring instrument man has. Words are what place us in the Imago Dei. Without the capacity for words (thought) we would be just another animal. I learned a while back that this is what I want to spend the rest of my life doing—crafting words: telling stories. And while I read a lot and love reading, it is the spoken word that stirs my soul, that incites my passion and drives me to action. So every word I write I hear in my head out loud. The Words I write, I write to hear them heard.

But every word comes hard. I believe there are two kinds of writers: writers for whom WORDS COME EASY (Stephen King, C.S. Lewis: the prolifically good, I call them), and writers for whom WORDS COME HARD (J.D. Salinger, Brennan Manning). I definitely fall in this second class of writer. Every word is a struggle, a battle to get on paper. Because I want it to be perfect. I want it to be inspiring and funny and brilliant. I want you to think it’s the best thing you’ve ever heard (or read, although I’d rather you hear it). I think it all comes back to my primary sin, pride. I want to be the best and, more importantly, I want you to know I’m the best. It cripples my daily thought, and my writing. But my pride is not the topic today, my writing (or lack thereof) is.

I’ve read, listened, asked questions, blah blah blah about how to get over this. And while my head knows the answers, he and my heart don’t see eye to eye and wrestle for control of my fingers, so that I stare at the blinking cursor. But what everyone says is that it’s a habit, something you have to build. My problem when it comes to good habits is that I can’t ever make it the twenty-one days. I get bored or distracted or it’s just not exciting enough for me to continue. (Postscript: Just read that last sentence Wow. How shallow am I?) But recently I’ve encountered writers in several places talking about the therapeutic and encouraging habit of blogging. They’ve all said it’s the thing that keeps them writing, that keeps the pump primed. My pump needs some desperate priming.

But I wasn’t ready to tackle trying to form a writing habit (see above writing struggles). So I performed an experiment on myself: Form a good habit. I needed something simple, something I could do in a minute or so each day, an accomplishable goal. I decided to floss. I’m the guy that NEVER flosses, except right before a dentist visit, because I feel guilty about not flossing. (Sidebar: this sounds eerily like my spiritual life, which is frightening. Something else for another day.) So in the interest of forming a good habit, I began flossing. And both to Shannon’s and my surprise, I’ve become a flosser. Woohoo! Good habit created.

So based on my flossing, I’ve decided to try another good habit: I’m going to see if I can blog every day. Stephen King says he writes five thousand words a day, and he won’t allow himself to leave his cpu until it’s done. Since he’s in the WORDS COME EASY class I support him in this habit whole-heartedly. My pride problem causes me to want to match him, which is the source of most of my failings. So I swallow said pride, and assign myself a far humbler goal. I’m thinking 500 words or less. And while I’ve already exceeded my limit for the day (YES! I’M AWESOME!!), I’m sure there will be many days when all we get is a sentence or a haiku.

So let’s see what happens, if I can form this good habit, if I can make the words flow a little easier. I’d appreciate your help.


Emory said...

This is exciting. :)

diadelkendall said...

count me among the "subscribed."