Word Count

Do you think it’s true that each step we take, no matter how enormously life-changing it seems at the time, merely serves to prepare us for the next step – one unimaginable before we took the first?

Lake Annette, Giant Steps - July 2008 178-00

I started this blog in order to provide myself with some form of accountability, and (hopefully) others with useful or interesting material for their own writing journeys.

In order to amp up the former, I have decided to keep a daily account of what I write, with the stated intent of writing something every day – aiming for 500 words.

I freely admit that I shamelessly poached this idea from RobynInNZ.

However, given my propensity for Weaselling Out, I feel the need to lay down a few ground rules.

Weasel Poupette

1) Writing out someone else’s words does not count. (Nor does “blah blah blah” – unless in Morning Pages.)

2) Shopping lists and to-do lists do not count, unless presented in a recognised poetic form (e.g. sonnet, villanelle, pantoum, limerick)

3) Diary/journal* entries and Morning Pages do count, as do blog entries (177, 178).

4) Private letters do count (should I be sufficently motivated to tally the words), but emails do not, unless Sparklingly Composed. Because these are my rules and I can be as inconsistent as I like.

5) Manuscript pages (i.e. written by hand) are harder to word-count, and shall therefore be averaged out, per page or per line.

6) Not writing 500 words (or any at all) shall be honestly admitted to, and (very important from the Weasel perspective) no excuses will be given. Taken. Whichever.

7) Unlike the man who relieved himself in a crocodile-infested river, there shall be no half-assedness. (Donations to medical charities operating in third world countries will be Highly Commended, and may earn a day’s respite from word-counting.)

Crocodile Fright Night

So: Monday – wrote page in journal (101 words). Tuesday: wrote 2 1/2 Morning Pages (502 words) and this blog post (387 words) for a total of 889.

889 words and counting…

And a question for you all: Which is preferable as a reader, lots of short blog posts (a sentence, a paragraph) or a longer post once or twice a week?
Comments on this or indeed on anything else related or interesting are welcomed.

*Does anyone else find it strange that diary carries the connotation of daily entries, when journal doesn’t – even though they both come from root words meaning day (diarius, Latin, and jour, French)?

The Censor

Chapter One of The Artist’s Way deals with “Recovering a Sense of Safety”.

One of the concepts Cameron introduces – or perhaps, more aptly, puts a name to – is the Censor. This is the voice in your head that tells you you’re a no-good talentless hack and it would be best for the literate world if you gave up right now and never strung two words together again.

Or something like that.

For some people, that voice belongs to a particular person in their past – or, God help them, their present – who is continually running them down and pissing on their dreams.

For others of us, it’s just the voice we all have in our heads – not that little helpful one which tells you when you’re about to do something really stupid, the other one. The vitriolic one.

But it can still help to put a face to the foe. If you have any artistic ability, you can render one yourself; the rest of us have to go hunting for one.

And when I tried to put a face to my nasty little voice, this is approximately what I found:

Muammar al-Gaddafi at the AU summit

Yup. That’s what the voice in my head looks like.

I don’t know what that says about me (any budding psycho*ists want to chip in?) but there it is.

It’s a good face to sneer back at (yes! we sneer in the face of destructive criticism!) but for some reason the person who had this face doesn’t seem attached to it in my mind. No ‘oh yes, and where’s your loyal populace then?’ retorts seem pertinent (although they could definitely be construed as impertinent).

The fruity dress sense? Well, that’s a different kettle of medals.

To be honest, I have still to work through all of the 10 exercises attached to the chapter. This time I think I’ll have a stab at some of the ones I didn’t try first time round.

I have til Thursday before I run out of month.

But I’m not weaselling.

Weasel Poupette

Promise.