The Good Patrons of 750 Words

A Note of Inspiration from L.S. Taylor

3 cups

I remember how I got started with this site. A few of my writing buddies signed up for it. This was July 1st. I signed up, forgot about it, and then came back on July 3rd with renewed interest. I liked the idea. I found out I was a few days late for signing up for the July challenge. But I stuck to writing daily. I have always enjoyed the idea of the morning pages. I wrote steadily for 67 days, often at night, mostly using the site as a place to brainstorm plots for my writing. I was an albatross! A phoenix was within my grasp.

And then on the 68th day, I totally forgot and I fell asleep before I could write.

I woke that morning regretting it deeply. I had done so well! I spent a weekend camping without Internet access, and through the miracle of being able to manipulate what time zone I live in, I still managed to get my 750 words done. So what if I had to say I lived in Fiji for a day? It meant that for the one full day I was gone, I could fix things. I switched it back to Alaska (hey, I’m a night owl) when I returned.

I enjoyed the site because I could use it mostly for thinking about plot and plot points. I work full time in addition to trying to write a novel, so sometimes it just helped to repeat myself to remember what I had to do. Sure, when I had to kill a character (as writers often do) my “stats” registered as me being mostly concerned with death, and they always say that I talk a lot about other people (the characters), but I can take that all with a grain of salt. It’s just the site trying to help.

Then, a few weeks ago I started treating the site as a blog. I would mostly forget about talking about writing, or I’d squeeze it in at the end. According to my stats, I was going through a very negative phase, because lately, my life hasn’t been all peaches and cream. But I already have a personal Livejournal (in addition to my very public one) and this site is (for me) about brainstorming, about clearing these thoughts from my head before getting started on actual-writing. I didn’t like the way this was going, because it felt like I was wallowing. Maybe my head needed clearing, but I just can’t stand negativity and after I wrote it, I didn’t feel any better or clear-headed.

(At this point, I’m not saying that the site should only be used for brainstorming, but it’s helped me. Whatever the reason for needing to clear your head, it’s a good idea.)

So when I failed for the first time, it was this past Wednesday. I thought I would put it off until bed. Then I fell asleep. As I said, I hated losing my albatross badge for it. And then I had a thought: Y’know, this could either go one of two ways. I could give up forever (after all, we’re getting into a busy season and I’ll be at a writing conference in October) or I could do what I said I would do on the Monthly Challenge Pages if I ever failed: “Pick myself up, dust myself off, and keep writing.”

Well, I failed. The albatross is gone and I’m left with a friggin’ egg! Yesterday, Friday, I let things slide deliberately, even though I logged my writing for Thursday. The decision has come to today. So, what do I do?

Maybe I don’t use the site in the same way that other people do. Maybe I need to take care of myself, and even put my actual-writing first. Maybe I’ll fail again, like at the Writing Conference, and I’ll be punished with another egg. There are so many excuses.

Yet I did my writing today despite that. And I intend to use this site better, really for plotting instead of wallowing. Maybe I’ll fail again. But there is one great lesson I keep having to re-learn just because I’m so good at forgetting:

We all have our bad days. Not every day is going to go as planned. The only thing we can do is dust ourselves off and keep writing.

Besides, eggs make great omelettes.

(And maybe on the site, I might move to Fiji. Or maybe Auckland. What’s a writer, if not a dreamer?)

Testimonial Note from L.S. Taylor on Sat, Sep 11
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