Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Power Of Shame

Behold the power of shame!

As it turns out 500 words is just enough to shame me into writing, but not enough to make it onerous.

Five hundred words ain't much, folks, but it's enough to get a toe-hold for the day. It's so miniscule that I could, if I wanted to, pound out something with about fifteen minutes of effort. No matter how lazy I am, no matter how far in the dumps, or if I'm buried in a roach-infested junk heap of apathy or if I've convinced myself I'm way too busy to write...I can always find time to puff out five hundred measly words.

Five hundred words is nothing, too simple even to be a consideration...which makes it a perfect goal. As it turns out it's just enough to get the wheels turning. By the time I get through it, I usually can coast on for a ways more on simple inertia.

If writing just ain't happening that day, then it's enough to figure that out, too, and bail in favor of whatever gripping alternative my brain tells me I should be doing. Like stacking paper cups or organizing my stamp collection.

It's enough to bang out one chapter section (which I've taken to calling badonks for some reason), a scene or a cluster of related beats. Five hundred per day, at the bare minimum, is about a chapter per week, more or less. At the end of the 100 days, that'll be fifty large worth of words, enough to finish the novel with interest and start the next.

I have a good feeling about this resolution/challenge. It's not quite as crazy as the story per week one, but it has some of the same feel. Apparently, I don't do well when I don't have at least a modicum of public accountability with my writing, even if the only people who notice are Russian spam-bots and various webcrawlers. I can just imagine spacing out on the daily quota and getting a sternly-worded email in my inbox from some guy named Yuri chastising me on missing my goal. The horror.

Of course, three days in probably isn't worth a victory dance just yet. It would be like spiking the ball and doing your own specially choreographed shuffle while you're still on the 25 yard line. Or pulling your rally car over and taking a nap halfway through the course.

But I needed some kind of twist to get me back on track--the last month or two have had something of a doldrums feel. The winter wore down my resolve and I needed something kick me into summer, which always puts me in better spirits.

Progress started out non-existent last week, due to the vacation, for exactly the reasons I mentioned before. There was a late rally, which pushed me through a tedious bit in the chapter and now I'm pressing on into new territory. Good times.

The speed bump I was slogging through was integrating material from a previous draft into the current draft. I don't particularly enjoy covering old territory again, but it was good enough that I'd be stupid not to reuse it.

Totals for this week: 959, 720, 534.

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