Monday, January 2, 2012

Ah, the old blank page and blinking cursor. The little patient saints are always there, friendly enough, uncritical, yet responsive, and perennially withholding comment...

Word count was up to about a thousand yesterday, which means I'm about a thousandth finished with the new blog. Already thinking about the title of the next one, of course. Plenty of time, though. Such is The Act. Creative ideas are a dime a dozen, and I could think about them all day. And I do, actually. But it's the execution that matters, and the double-meaning of that word isn't lost on me. 

Because, with writing, one is always simultaneously "implementing a plan" and "carrying out a death sentence." It's impossible to understand, I think, if you've never written something. The implementation part is simple enough, as a concept, but the death sentence (sentence!) extends to anything that would otherwise demand your attention; other easier tasks, chores, work calls, the news cycle, your children. You can't get any writing done unless they all go off and expire somewhere, which they don't. It's you who has to kill yourself from everything, most especially the words in your head that tell you you've done it wrong. Again. And then, just the concept that one has at least a quarter of a million words to choose from, in the English language. Choose a thousand of them to live, and 249,000 of them to die down in the creative abyss, alone, unimagined.

Achh. I could list them all dutifully, and still be only a quarter of the way though to the goal I've set for myself. Even the Holy Bible is not quite a million words, at about three quarters of a million, depending on the translation. And the complete works of Shakespeare: 884,647. Not that this blog will become a holy work, or some lasting contribution to world literature. Hardly. No, it's just a goal. To say I did, and with some minor benefits. Like last year's 1,000 miles. 

I ran 1,000 miles last year. Maybe a few more, given RunKeeper's proclivity to underestimate my performance, and my not counting the 1/4 mile walk-offs I do at the end of every run. What did I get out of all those miles? Good health, sanity, the ability to finish a few marathons at a speedy clip without killing myself. Not bad for this 41-year-old. You have to run about 3 miles a day, every day, to make that goal. That sounds a lot harder to me than running the 178 out of 365 I did. Most days were about 3 miles, but many were twice that, and more. The rest days were essential.

So I expect this blog will be similar. Long-winded on some days, empty on others. And, as with the running, some days you have a good run, and others not so much. But it all matters, in the end. I believe we have a finite amount of bad writing in each of us. Best to pile forward and get it written, so we can then move on to more important matters.

I suppose we have a large amount of bad anything in us, that we must inexorably exorcise in order to succeed. All successful people have one thing in common with quitters, and that is that they all failed at one point, somewhere, and on multiple occasions. Unfortunately for life, not all failures have success in common. But all failures inevitably come to that point of decision: when to quit. The solution is simple.