Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What 800 Words Look Like on a Tuesday Morning

I’m here to start a yoga/writing challenge. Twenty-one days of writing 800 words/day. I have lots of ideas, lots of nervousness, some doubt as to my ability to make writing/yoga a part of a routine that already feel too full, and a readiness to breakthrough in doing those things that really matter to me and what I’m up to – my health is becoming a critical matter for the first time in my life. And I need to write – to express myself – to use my gift with words to be heard and to make a difference with others.
Some of the ideas that I’ve come up with so far (note to self: come back to this list when you’re stuck) include:  
  • Love letters to each of the men I’m incomplete with, or who have gone unacknowledged, or even who I’ve just never sent a love letter to after our relationship completed. Or maybe a letter creating for myself who they are and what I’m grateful to them for. And by doing this creating myself as a soul mate in the making, since that’s another area where I see certain things for me to distinguish, complete, and get out of the way of any future relationship.
  • The Travel BC article I started last year – adding to it, creating other travelogues, creating for myself who I am as a traveller and a writer. I’ve been places and done things and those have truly influenced who I am ... why not have a record of it?
  • Becoming: A Novel Always Becoming. I don’t really know where to start there, but I’m going forward with the ‘hope’ that that will change ... that some structure or story arc or vignettes will present themselves. I clearly don’t know how to write a novel, but I’m going to keep going.
  • My Adventures in Empty Nesting journal – right now those entries exist in an a journal, which makes it harder to confirm that I’ve written the requisite 800 words, but I love the feeling of curling into my bed at the end of the day, opening a beautiful notebook bought especially for this purpose, and reflecting on one theme – creating my space to be – in the comfy, coxy retreat that is my down duvet and fluffy pillows. I think what I’ll do is look at how many words I’ve been writing on average so far, and allow for that in how much I write in the mornings, since it’s what I do as I’m turning out the lights and don’t want to go to sleep wondering if I’ve completed what I’ve committed to: 800 words/day.
  • Shan’s Smiles & Winks - I’m not sure how much of my blog I’ll consider a part of this process. On the one hand, why would I make things harder than they have to be? Why not include those words that I write anyway and put out there. Besides, the beauty of posting my challenge writing to my blog is that my 21.5.800 community (and everyone else) can then respond to it. If it’s all just on the computer/in a journal I’m not engaging in the community aspect of the challenge. Doing it on my own is a way of being that I want to give up, and engaging in the community – learning from, growing with, contributing to – is something I’m committed to.
Well, I can see that one thing I predicted is already occurring as true. I know that it’s true that I can sit down and write an easy 500 words in about 20 minutes. For me it seems like 500 words expresses a complete thought from beginning to end, and then there is the challenge ... the gap between an easy 500 words and a commitment to at least 800 words. Sure, I could come back later today and try to come up with another 145 words (this makes 660 total), but then it will be there hanging over me all day – that thing you started the day with is incomplete. Go back. Keep going. You shouldn’t have quit so easily (quitting being something I tell myself I do).

Besides which, I have a pretty jam-packed schedule, and that I have carved out an hour to write each morning suggests to me that I should bloody well sit here and write until I’m done. And, if some mornings I can’t squeeze out 800 words in the morning writing session, we’ll cross that bridge then. Maybe re-read The Right to Write or Writing Down the Bones (you can find them in my Amazon list on the left). I do promise though, for myself and the 21.5.800 community, and those people who regularly read my blog, that my next 21 days of posting won’t all be on the theme of the challenge. I’m looking at topics (as you might have been able to tell from the ideas list above) such as
  • Love, love lost, loving myself, and creating myself as a soul mate rather than looking for someone to be that for me
  • Travel, were I’ve been, what I’ve learned, where I’m going next
  • Writing, learning about writing, resources for writers, reading great writing, reading about writing
  • Yoga, health, nutrition, and what the heck I’m learning/doing about it all
I have another plan for my Empty Nesting journal, so you won’t likely see much of that right now, but it is in process and will ultimately get out there.
And that, my friends, is how you push through the automatic 500+ word slow down and ride on through to 930+ words. Not bad for a first day.


  1. I'm looking forward to this challenge; 21 days seems almost manageable to me -- I've tried NaNoWriMo and the blog-a-day challenges and I've bailed on countless 365 challenges but I am always buoyed by others' success in these areas. :)

  2. I have another idea for those days when you're stuck...you could work on my book..my story..the one you promised to write. That would be amazing!

  3. I love how you broke it down at the end. Great dissemination. Onward!

  4. Thank you all! I'm really enjoying all the community around this challenge.

    Rita - why don't you join in? We could write your story together (or grab a bottle of wine soon and you can just tell me).

    Cheryl, my bestie has done NaNoWriMo a couple times - sounds really daunting to me, but maybe this is a good warm up.

    Thanks, Tia. Onward indeed!


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