10,000 Words: 9013-10,020
The final thousand words starts not with a bang but a whimper. My wrists hurt from typing, I’m losing focus on the words I’m writing. Outside, the rain continues on this cold, dreary February 7th. I’m hungry. I haven’t eaten all day. I had work deadlines and I blew them off. Though, by the time this posts, I’ll have been weeks out of my hideous job. Yay! I’ve been drinking water all day like a responsible aging human so I am ready for my vodka tonic reward (it’s now 3:24, and my deadline for finishing 10,000 words was 4pm).
My thumbs up mix has been playing all day at top volume, but the music has fallen into a sort of background white noise. It’s moved me along but I couldn’t tell you what I’ve been listening to, or if there have been any particular inspirational moments.
The door to my office has been closed all day, the lights off so there’s been nothing but the glow from the screen and the stormlight.
When I started writing this morning I said I was doing this to blow thoughts about my last book out of the front yard of my brain and, I think, I’ve done that. Because I’m sitting here thinking, hell, I could easily sit down and say “I’m going to write 10,000 words of my sci-fi novel today!” That would, actually, come very close to finishing the first draft.
Writing is always obsessed with deadlines. Writers say they need deadlines and so do editors. But, as an editor who has worked for other people, I’ve found that deadlines are toxic. I don’t mind so much if I impose them on myself, but having someone else say get it to me by such and such a date is toxic. The tendency, I think, is to put it off until such and such a date and then squeeze out something atrocious.
Instead, writers must look to themselves. These words come from within us. We’re following our demons, our hearts, our characters. We’re walking through a landscape that, even as we do walk though it, we’re creating.
There’s this sense that anything can happen, even when you outline to death. There’s something going on – some sort of power – that no publisher or managing editor can control or manipulate. We don’t need deadlines. We just need to sit down and do it. You can pop out a thousand words and refine them in an hour if you want. And, hey, they don’t need to be about anything. They don’t need to change anything or anyone. There doesn’t need to be a lesson. Just 1000 words of whatever you’re feeling. I’m watching the rain, I’m dreaming of somewhere else, I need to pee…
I’ve spent today thinking about my writing (as I’ve written about thinking about my writing) and what it means to me. My realization is that publishing my memoir first may have been necessary but, probably, not wise. It feels more like the end game in a writing career than the debut. Reorganizing my thoughts from introspective examination to a sci-fi adventure on another world has been difficult. So what I’ve done here is, yes, empty everything out. And , along the way, I’ve created content for GS so I don’t have to worry about the dead front page so much.
So I guess I did have a purpose in these 10,000 words. Oh, well. So much for writing lessons. What I should do is write more publishing lessons! Bad contracts from bad small presses! I could go over them all and really get that word count up. But, sadly, they’re all pretty much the same. Which is another writer’s lesson. Every book takes a village, but you can only trust your own instincts. Everyone in that village will tell you that they know what’s good for you and, in desperation, in the face of low or no royalty payments, you’ll listen to them. But that just makes everything worse. You have to walk a tightrope of self awareness and also awareness of what your audience needs.
No, wait. Does my audience need these 10,000 words? Did this do anything for anybody or was it just word vomit therapy?
Yes, it was word vomit therapy. I have no idea how many breaks I’ve made so when will this post? Late April? This cold February rain will be a distant memory. Today will be! I’ve cataloged a day in the life of Nacho’s interior monologue right here which may or may not prove interesting a few months down the line, eh? We’ll see. After all this shit I’ve been spewing today, I’m now terrified that I’ll be dead by April and everyone will be reading my obit and laughing. He loser died in his 40s! Serves him right! Maybe he farted himself to death! Or maybe a small press owner snapped and shot him at the bus stop.
I wonder if 10,000 words a day are as healthy as 10,000 steps? I feel like I have gotten a workout, but it’s all in the back of my skull and in my eyes that keep losing focus.
Anyway, maybe this got Great Society some new readers? I hope I didn’t die because I might do this again. Every quarter – a 10,000 word vomit session! Then this whole page will become an insane catalog of my slow and horrible mental collapse.
And, now, I’ll just use up a bunch of words to tip the scale and then go make my motherfucking vodka tonic! The sad part is that I’m only a few words short, but I’m so obsessed with hitting 10,000 that I’m still going. I could stop and it would be fair enough! But this is like those fucking Untappd badges. I have to get the 10,000 word achievement! I’m glad there’s at least one app on my phone that has taught me the art of pointless internet obsession. I was starting to feel like I was missing out on something.
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