Yesterday was the first day of my forced march, the 7 days of mandatory 500-word minimum output. I have been “unable” to write for the past six weeks, blaming it all on writer’s block and now I am out to prove that writer’s block is just denial and that if I really want to write, I will write, blocked or not.
I used all manner of procrastination last night. I watched TV, I cleaned things that didn’t need cleaning, and even performed all of the optional updates to my operating system just so the reboots could delay the inevitable blank page of doom.
When I finally got to the blank page, I stared at it without writing a single word. So then I pulled out the tried and true “quick brown fox” technique, where you start with that sentence just to take the edge off the blank page and hopefully the rhythm of typing and less intimidating page will get you writing. This is what I started with:
The quick brown fox ran over the stupid yellow dog who was busy cutting up the neighbors with a chainsaw because they were zombies and in need of a good killing.
Clearly I was in no state of mind to be writing. Further proof that if I could write in this mindset, I could write at any time, regardless of writer’s block.
So I made it through 562 words, starting a short story that has been knocking around in my brain for at least 8 months now. To be honest, I hated every word I wrote. I despised each word as though it were some demon-spawned child given birth in the bowels of hell, the source of an epic quest to slay the purest evil the world as ever seen. No, I’m not exaggerating, I hated it that much.
However, I kept typing. I forced myself to keep going until I had more than 500 words and then I stopped at the end of the next paragraph. I would rather have had 500 teeth pulled.
But I survived. I hope that day 2 will be a little less evil and require less effort. My thesis, if that’s what you want to call it, is that by day 7 I will be begging to find spare time to write because that’s all I will want to do.
Writing is not like riding a bike. You do not immediately pick it back up. Writing is a muscle that grows soft, weak, and useless through lack of use. And like the fat guy at the gym that I used to be, exercising flabby muscles sucks and is the last thing your body wants to do… but we do it anyway because we must.