Thursday, June 13, 2013

Writing Challenge: Accepted (And Promptly Ignored)

When Kristen came to visit me in January, I expressed my need to write to her. I want to create something. I'm not very artistic (my stick figures, including the women, all have penises and I can't color within the lines) when it comes to drawing, painting, or crafting. Think Jackson Pollock or Rothko. That would be the extent of what I could do, except take out the high price tag and the gallery wall space.  

Anyway, Kristen responded by being extremely supportive and then issuing me a writing challenge: 12 short stories over the course of 12 months. The point isn't to churn out perfectly edited prose. The point is to get my ideas on paper (er. . .a glowing computer screen) and then worry about the editing part later. When she suggested this to me, I was thrilled. It was like I had a sense of renewed purposed. I was all like: 

So, now that it's basically the middle of June, just how far have I gotten on said challenge?

The sad truth is. . .not that far.

So far I have two complete stories. Just two. I have another one that I've been editing and would be a third in the collection.

I have several ideas where I've outlined them, brainstormed a beginning, middle, and end, and even fleshed out characters. When I sit down to write those stories, however, my inspiration deserts me and I'm left with the same blank, glowing screen.

This would be me if it were in the early 90's, only exchange the cigarettes
for a box of crayolas and the coffee for  a Capri Sun.
So basically nothing is the same, really.
Photo Credit.

It has been my dream for a while now to publish a novel. I've been inspired my mother who used to write columns and stories. She would read them aloud and sometimes act them out for us.  My cousin wrote a full length novel about her travels through Africa with her husband that won the Indie Book Award for best memoir. Hell, I'm even really impressed when my friends get their thesis papers published about astrophysics. All of these people put their creativity, effort, and brainpower into something and can then look at their work with a sense of pride and accomplishment. It's a physical manifestation of creativity that gives the creator a small sense of legacy. Even after they're dead, they created a written work that could be read and enjoyed by someone later. That's pretty amazing!

In addition to Kristen's writing challenge, I'm also trying to decide what I want to attempt this year for National Novel Writing Month. If you haven't done NaNoWriMo before and you have the burning desire to write a novel in one month. . .do it. It's a simple concept: You write a 50,000 novel in one month. That's 1667 words a day. Now before you're all like, "AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT" remember that most people can type at least 30 words a minute if they went to school and had to sit through countless hours of Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing.

Maybe one of my short stories should be about how much I hated this fucking game. 
I plan to make NaNoWriMo extra credit when I teach high school English. Many high school students are just bursting with emotions, creativity, and they're trying to find a way to express themselves and their individuality. I can't think of a more productive way for students to spend their time. I think I probably need to stop idealizing the teaching profession and pretending my life will be exactly like Freedom Writers. For the record, though, I was able to complete my novel the first year, but unable to in 2011 and 2012. Here's looking at 2013 for some success.

I wish I could say I was a winner. 
Thus concludes my writing update. If someone knows of a good way to keep up motivation while writing, I would LOVE to hear it. If someone knows how to make millions of dollars with little to no effort, I would also love to hear that.