It’s been a little over two years since I began to regularly write blog posts, one year since I retired and decided to focus on my writing, and six months since I changed over to my Squarespace site. Here are some numbers: I’ve written over 150 posts since the summer of 2014, had two posts picked up by BlogHer, had four articles published in a local magazine, and attended one writing workshop. I’ve gone through eleven journals since last June, and have begun my ninth notebook. I’ve attempted to outline a novel, but I’m stuck. A new story is in my head, but it hasn’t begun its journey onto paper yet. Some weeks I write and write, and others there is a big, fat nothing. I often feel sickening guilt and crippling doubt. Isn’t this why I retired? Why can’t I get the words out? What is wrong with me? Maybe I just stink. Perhaps I’m too old. I suck. But then I remember this one thing: I like what I write. Whenever I reread some of my old stuff, I surprise myself. I have written a lot. Nothing is wrong with me. Maybe I’m not so bad. Perhaps I’m not too old. I don’t suck.
My best material has happened when I set writing goals.. During the summer of 2014, I challenged myself to bake 21 pies and then write about them. Last summer I wrote love letters to Decatur during the month of June and ended up publishing over 20 posts. This past March I attempted to write every day with quotes as my inspiration; the total count was 21 posts.
I’ve decided I need a new challenge, so here’s the deal. I’ve made three writing goals for this summer. Each is new for me. Each will test my talent, my discipline, and my determination. Here goes:
1. I’ve made a pledge through writeology.net to write and/or edit a minimum of 250 words a day. Each day I accomplish this goal I add a link to my writing chain. If I miss a day, the chain is broken, so I have to start over. This sounds like a good place to hook up the jumper cables to my sluggish jalopy of a writing habit. Drunk on Love in the Kitchen may be the recipient of this challenge, so stay tuned. I also signed up for the Writember Workshop, an online course that will send me a writing lesson each day for 30 days. It promises I will, “learn how to build the ultimate writing routine, find your personal motivation triggers, inspire yourself on demand, and master self-discipline.” Hmmmm…..sounds like hard work, but, damnit, I’m ready to work on this shit.
2. I’ve also resolved to start working on my book. The story can no longer just swirl around in my head. As Jodi Picoult once wrote, “You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” So…the narrative will begin its journey. Who knows what I will see and learn as I stroll along this path?
3. I have one last goal: to submit articles for publication. This is a petrifying task, like driving Highway 1 on a foggy day, but I need to work past the terror of rejection. I recently read about a writer who set himself a 100 rejection letter goal for the year. 100 rejection letters! That seemed daunting and a bit self-flagellating, but you don’t grow if you hide yourself from the world. My submission goal is one article a week, so that could possibly add up to 52 rejections by July 2017. I’ll keep you posted on the tally as they accumulate in my inbox. Maybe I will even get a few published. Miracles are out there if you go looking for them.
I’m cranked and ready to go. This blog post is over 600 words, so I’ve accomplished my first link in the Write Chain. Yahoo for me!