I am the sort of person who doesn’t believe Wet Paint signs. I mean, sure, somebody took the time and effort to print up the sign, and stick it up with some masking tape, but that’s just hearsay evidence. It could be an old sign, or it could be a prank, or it could be the work of a passing surrealist who was making an ironic comment about the nature of subjective semiotics.
I have to touch the damned wall and get paint on my hands. Every time. It’s like the sign is a challenge– “Maybe the paint is wet and maybe it isn’t–unless you touch it, you’ll never know!”
And don’t even get me started on waitress who tell me, “That’s plate’s hot!” Those bitches are trying to kill me.
Any time I am given a piece of advice my first impulse to do exactly the opposite, just to test the source of information. I am able to control it, sometimes–I have learned to take High Voltage on faith, for example–but it’s always there.
I am simply contrary and ornery by nature. I have a epistomological chip on my shoulder–anything that I am told by someone else is under judgement until I have perceived it directly. Until November of this year, as far as I was concerned the Atlantic ocean was an unfounded rumor.
Which brings us to the advice that we all get from writer’s forums. As you might imagine I read it with a skepticism that puts Thomas to shame. There is one in particular that just about everyone will agree on, which naturally meant that I treated it like a Weekly World News cover photograph of Batboy riding the Loch Ness Monster.
Write Something Every Day.
That couldn’t possibly apply to me. Ordinary mortals, sure, those poor schlubs who aren’t blessed with my level of genius and skill, yeah, I could see how scribbling a few lines of mediocre prose on a daily basis might be of some use to them, but not me.
I’m special, damnit. Ordinary rules don’t apply to me. (Hang on a second, I’ve got to scrub the paint off my hands.)
Well, on January first I kind of sort of made a decision to try to maybe sit down and write a little bit every day. It wasn’t a New Year’s Resolution, or anything, since I don’t make those, it was just a… uh… an experiment.
That’s it, I was trying an experiment to empirically test the validity of that old canard about writing every day. Like Mythbusters for writers.
Well, today is the thirteen of January, and I have sat down and wrote every day since the first.
Damned if it don’t work. Go figure.
There were definitely days when I didn’t want to do it. Frequently I would sit and think, “this is an utter waste of time.” But I did it. Some days just a few sentences, some days a little more. I didn’t set a particular word count goal, I just said sit down and write something. (Well, okay, something on my current novel–blog posts and e-mails didn’t count.)
Well, yesterday I put down over two thousand words. Almost twenty-two hundred, actually. For me, that’s amazing. I don’t write like a novelist, I write like a poet, I do all the editing in my head first and then type it all out. So those two thousand plus words are almost certainly two thousand plus words that will be in the final published version.
I don’t expect to do that every day, obviously, most days I have to work and do other things. But the fact is, writing every day really does make it easier. Instead of waiting for the spirit to move me, I have been giving the spirit a little nudge and hoping for the best. And it works.
Write something every day.