Monday, July 18, 2011

What I'm Doing

I have committed to doing some creative writing although it is unlikely that anything I write will be shared with anyone beyond my family.  There is a project on my heart and I need to make time for it in my life.  In Sylvia Plath's journal, I read some advice she received from a writer:  write 4 pages a day and you'll have 365,000 words by year's end.

True if you double space.  I was 2000 words into writing when I realized that 4 pages for me with my single-spacing-self equals more than 1000 a day.

But here is one thing I wrote today, that doesn't count towards the project itself although it reflects a bit of what I was thinking as I tried to fill the page.

Why is it the sad stories are the ones that come first?  I hate that.  I wish the happy ones would rise to the surface.  But if the sad ones want to be written first, then I must write them and make room for the happy memories to come forward.

 For a long time I didn't start this project because every time I would, the most painful and brutal moments presented themselves.  I realize, however, that if I don't start it can never be finished.  

Well, duh.  

And isn't it about time I had this realization.  Sheesh!


  1. I always found that writing about the most painful things in my life made me feel so much better. I don't know how painful or bad the specific things you are referring to are so I can't compare obviously but my way of looking at it was this: 1. The things that happened that hurt me or caused these bad memories or feelings have already happened. It can't get any worse than what it was in that exact moment. 2. Once I've written it down, I've confronted my true emotions behind avoiding it. That part is over and it's all downhill from there. Once it's on paper or on a hard drive, I have already dissected the cause and effect of that exact moment. I live better with the memory of it, even if it's still not pleasant, it's no longer avoided or feared.

  2. I just hope I can get around to writing out some good memories as well because I don't want it all to be doom and gloom. I had a happy childhood so it can't be all misery. I just have to get through to writing some of the good stuff.

  3. The funny thing about when I write about happy times in my life is that it puts me in daydream mode and I get caught up all the joyous feelings and then one happy memory leads to another and another and then I'm just sitting there reliving all the good times. Like the first time Joe and I went to O'Charley's, our first sit down date. And then when I was in labor and had brunch with my friend at the same O'Charley's. And then the first time Joe ever held Bibi on the parking deck of the Kroger on Atlanta Road.

    And here I go day dreaming.

  4. Saila,

    I'm debating if my goal should be 1000 words a day or 4 pages a day. The advice given to Sylvia Plath was to write 4 pages for a total of 1000 words but I single space so 4 pages for me is over 2000 words. Not sure if my changing the goal is cheating or not. We'll see how today goes. Onward and upward. Woot!

  5. Erin,

    There is research that shows writing about an experience softens the emotional impact of the experience. This is probably one of the reasons people who keep journals find themselves writing mostly about the things that make them angry or sad or scared but when they are happy or falling in love or enjoying life the urge to write it out is not there because they want to hold onto the good moment for as long as they can. But then memories fade and I'm trying to get things down before they are lost forever.

  6. Saila, See? That is what I was thinking. I can always keep going if I am so inclined but first I wanted to establish the goal and I was beating myself up thinking "I said 4 pages dammit" but now I can say "Hit 1000 words and then see how you feel."

    Whew! No wonder I love you!

  7. I think there are a few options here. The easiest thing to do would be to start double spacing. Then you have no confusion about rules and cheating. But if you find you have plenty of things to write about and have no trouble filling 4 pages single spaced, then carry on. If you want to stay true to the goal though, you could always write two pages single spaced and go back and double space afterward. I guess the real question is whether you struggle to fill 4 single spaced pages or not.

  8. Erin, That is precisely what I'm going to do! My goal will be 2 pages or 1000 words, whichever comes first. Then if I am enjoying myself, feeling inspired, eager to write more, I shall.

    I already think I know one thing I want to write about today. Not sure about the rest. We'll see how it goes. But apparently someone is dropping by in a few minutes so I have to wait to start until they come and go. Sheesh.