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Writing 101 Day 1

writing-101-june-2014-class-badge-2Writing 101. Auspicious sounding name. Here is where I learn to write, or refresh the basics of my writing. I have not had a 101 course since I was a freshman in college.That was a LONG time ago, too long to easily account without paper and pencil (muttering, carry the one…).


Anyway I am tasked with writing for 20 minutes and then post the stream of consciousness (dribble) that trickles out the side of my head in my blog. Well it will be a blog post if nothing else.


I heard that the only way to get better at writing every day is to write every day. I am also reminded of Mur Lafferty’s podcast “I should be writing” which I really enjoyed when I drove more, had lots of free time, and listened to more podcasts.


I aim at being a writer and keep beginning things, projects, papers, partial stories that I MEAN to become books or at least podcast novellas.I am good for the first 10 or so pages, but then, like I am with exercising, something interrupts the flow and I miss a day or two. Fully meaning to return to the activity and pick up where I left off, I promise myself, making deals with myself in order to get back to my promised activity. A day turns into two, then a week, then a month, and before I know it, I think of myself as a writer, but fatter I am and with no more words on the page to show for it.


Now, I am curious to see how much I can write if I forego the soda I want, and the chocolate sitting just out of arm’s reach as I stumble on for the requisite 20 minutes of writing for this exercise. I am using my new Chromebook that I have configured with a script, actually the script runs in my Google Docs folder on my Google Drive. The script takes all the documents in my writing folder, compares them to saved earlier versions, and counts the words I have accomplished for the day. Then the script sends the word counts on each document to my Evernote writing notebook, so I have a historical of how I’m doing (or mostly in my case, not doing).


I have been typing for 10 minutes, half way there. My back is telling me to move and my legs are wanting to stretch. The odd itch here and there causes me to pause in the flow to scratch. Anything to interrupt me. I am trying to not shave the yak. Do you know that phrase, like I’ve suddenly began addressing you (the reader) like we are having a conversation. Must be because I talk to myself as if I were speaking to someone else, so I have become accustomed to it. Anyway, back to Shaving a Yak… In case you didn’t know (which you probably did), means to do something, anything, EXCEPT what you were supposed to be doing. So when I am supposed to be writing, I find that particular moment is the perfect time to clean off my desk, under the thought that if I clean the desk now, I’ll be able to concentrate better for writing. However, once I finish cleaning the desk, it is time to move on to something else and there is no time for writing. Chores to be done, dog to walk, high scores to be conquered, driving lessons for the teenagers to be given… anything except what I promised myself I would do.


So I glanced at the clock and I am nearing the end of the 20 minute exercise of writing, and as I try not to, but still do, glance over some of the text on the page, I am rewarded with being right – dribble, but it was good to set a goal and actually follow through.


The funny thing about that last statement is that the assignment was given YESTERDAY morning, and here is it late in the day on day 2, before I start the assignment for Day 1. I hope I can catch up with the assignments as the days go along, because I really want to become a better writer.


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