29STORIES Check-In #1: I May Really Be Crazyfeatured

29STORIES: Check-In #1 {the ponytail diaries}

The week (and project) got off to a slow start, writing-wise, at least. I wrote 1,430 words on 1 story this week. I stalled because I very quickly realized I need to become an outliner if I’m going to have any hope at finishing anything this year.

See, I’ve always had a tendency of just free-writing long, rambling scenes that may or may not have any point. I always justify them as “character discovery” for me, the author, but it’s probably the least efficient way to write.

So I pulled back and am figuring out how the hell to make an outline in a way that works for me. Suggestions welcome.

Also, this year I might manage to fully squelch my “inner critic.” I started that new story and literally within half a page I started telling myself “This is stupid. It’s just a rip-off of a Jennifer Weiner book or a bad romantic comedy. What the hell is the point? This character sucks. Ugh, what are you doing?” And it was so hard to keep writing because that’s not the point. Right now, writing something good or worth reading or just not utter crap isn’t the point. Writing is the point. The doing is the thing, as Amy Poehler so wisely says. So with a lot of internal struggle, I told that voice to shove it and kept writing.

And the “doing”? When I get my butt in my chair and my Word doc open and actually do it…I kinda love it.

I love writing prose. I love making stuff up and writing it down. I love inventing characters and deciding what they look like and what they say and how they act and who their friends are and what they do for a living, for fun, at night when they’re feeling lonely, on a good date, on a bad date, what they order in their favorite restaurants, what movie they ALWAYS have to watch when it comes on TV even though they’ve seen in a million times and TV always cuts out the best scene and they have it on DVD anyway (Harry Potter for just about everyone, right?), and everything else that makes them tick.

I love the feeling when it all start flowing so smoothly that my fingers can’t keep up, when you can’t even hear individual key clicks anymore, when it’s a steady stream of tap-tap-tap-taptaptaptaptaptatatatatap. And I love knowing that if it sucks, at least I something creative and interesting for an hour, at least I pushed my brain in a way it doesn’t get used often enough, at least I resisted the siren call of TV, Facebook, Feedly, Instagram, picking my cuticles, staring in the fridge, messing with my hair, thinking about cleaning the bathroom but not actually doing it, flipping through a magazine without really reading it, or studying my pores to try to guess which one’s going to get a zit next. And then I can delete it and start over, or banish it to the dusty back corners of my hard drive, or pull it up again in a day, a week, a month, and figure out how to make it better.

Hopefully there’ll be more of that in the coming weeks.