A Few Lessons More

I can’t believe it. Fifty days have passed by, and I have completed my quest: 50 days writing 500 words per day.

I started doing this for a few reasons. One is that I wanted a challenge. My physical health has not been good for a number of years, and I was starting to think that I would never be a productive member of society again.

Well, I may not be that productive, but I have managed to put down a few thoughts. This has felt pretty good. If I have been able to entertain you in the process, I consider it a job well done.

The other is that I intend to write in the new year. Not just a few hundred words a day. I’ve got a novel in mind. Two, actually.

One popped into my head one day. From nowhere, I had what I thought was a very exciting climax to a fantasy novel. I thought the scene was so good that I wanted to discover what the story was that led to that point.

I’ve been unraveling it, but it is more than I know how to do. At the moment. I’ve written a number of other (pretty good) scenes, but the scope of the story is expanding.

I need to put it on a shelf until I know a bit more.

The other idea is one that has kicked around in my head for a very long time. In fact, it has been there since I first heard the poem “Jack and Jill went up the hill”. At the time, I remember thinking why did they go up the hill in the first place? 

I think I need to find out, so that’s what’s up for me in 2017.

In the meantime, I’ll probably keep posting pretty regular on this blog. I like the quickness of it. The regularity. The habit. It stretches my mind just a bit each time.

I’m grateful for the small lessons I’ve learned, as I’ve written to a deadline for the last 50 days. Granted, the deadline was flexible – anytime before bed – but it was a deadline nonetheless.

I was thinking of a few other lessons that these last fifty days have taught me. Here are a few more.

Write It Fast. I used to equate speed with poor quality. As if I could only put down words that were difficult to write. I no longer believe this to be true. In fact, some of my best work has happened when I had no time, no energy, and could barely stay awake.

Don’t Try To Please People Too Much. This is a tough one, for me. I’m a people pleaser. I would wonder what if my Mom / pastor / friend from the third grade / Uncle Albert would read this? Would she / he be upset? What if I curse a bit? Will I be shunned?

I’d actually look forward to an old fashioned shunning. It sounds so … ominous.

I am slowly getting over this, but it’s hard. My ways of thinking have had 50 years to lay down very powerful neural pathways. I’ve been doing my best to create new ones.

Write Alot. A couple of years ago, I wrote in a contest called the National Novel Writing Month, an annual contest to complete a 50,000 word manuscript in the month of November.

I discovered that I could write a lot in a short period of time; however, I didn’t write consistently, and I never created a habit of writing. This time around, I wrote less per day, but I wrote every day.

I trust that I have created a new habit. Which is good. I am woefully lacking in the willpower department. A habit wouldn’t require much willpower.

Find My Voice. All the writing manuals talk about finding your own voice. I’m not sure if I’ve gotten there, yet. I used to think that I was destined to write funny stuff. I’ve always gravitated towards the funny.

When I look back at my writing, though, I find that I was a lot more serious than I expected. With maybe a bit of humour to lighten things up.

I will need to continue writing to find out what my voice really is.

I have come to the conclusion, though, that I do have a voice. That what I say and think matters. This isn’t because I’m some genius. Or gifted. Or special. It’s just that, in all of history, there’s never been another me.

I have a completely unique outlook on life. As do you. I’m the only me around. My choice to communicate that me is through telling stories.

We all choose to embrace that inner person or not. In the past, I’ve not felt that my inner person is of any consequence. That I’m somehow not worthy of all the wonderful things I’ve experienced in life: love, family, the beauty of the South Saskatchewan.

I’ve changed my mind. A little bit, at least. I’m trying hard to cut myself some slack, like I would for anyone else but me. I think doing this challenge has helped me do that.

Just a little.

A work in progress, if you will.

This has been the start of a new journey, for me. In some ways, a small toehold for me to start my crawl from the abyss. To let my eyes adjust to the darkness. To climb towards daylight.

I’m excited about my journey, and I thank you for being around for the start of it.

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