Thursday, May 13, 2021

I wrote a thousand words the other day

and it was kind of a minor miracle. I used to be a much more self-disciplined writer. I set word count goals--higher than 1000 words--and I always met them. The trick was not really a trick at all. It was

just do it

no excuses. Sit down and open the manuscript I was working on and write. But then, I hit a nasty writer's block, and then, just as I was emerging out of that, along came a global pandemic and a scary slap of a reminder that we live in a broken world. Whatever routine I'd created for myself was gone and each day I would put off my writing, 

finding a million other things to do before sitting down, coping with the global pandemic and the world's precariousness by binge-watching baking shows, impulse-buying miniature book rooms and colorful cereal bowls, and obsessively trying to identify every plant in my backyard. 

Also, worrying over birds.

Amazingly, I finished writing a book and revised it and revised it again, and started writing another book, setting no word count goals because I kept failing at them, and next, simply trying to sit for a fixed amount of time, 

say, an hour? 

Some days even that was too hard. My old bad habits came back, the perfectionism thing where you have to keep writing the same scene, the same paragraph, the same sentence until it feels right and what is right anyway? Which inevitably spirals into the evil twin of perfectionism-- self doubt, 

the Why am I doing this? Who is ever going to read this? Oh, look at those cute cereal bowls online why don't we buy them even though we don't need anymore cereal bowls. 

But then I got vaccinated and suddenly it was spring and I had mapped every plant in my yard and my adult daughter who had been living at home all year moved out and restarted her life and that reminded me that I could restart mine, 

and why not set a word count goal?

I chose 1000 words. For reference, this is roughly 4 pages. Not so much, you would think, right? But it took me an entire day. When I finished, I felt like I'd run a marathon, muscles throbbing that I'd forgotten I had, extreme giddiness, because I could still do this, 


and somehow I survived this year and how lucky I was, am, to be able to do this, write, despite living in a broken world, both escaping from it and trying to capture it, regardless of whether anyone reads what I'm writing, and so the next day,

I did it again. 

Cute, but not enough to assuage my existential dread


  1. I have the same struggles. I've never felt so distracted! Lately, my writing really appreciates the rainy days!

    1. In the end I always come back to some kind of goal. Something small and gentle and easily reached :)

  2. Yay to writing! You can do it, one day at a time, one word count at a time!

    1. Thanks, Shari! Hope your writing is going well too :)

    2. Slow and steady on the edits on the next book, mixed among the time to create the new raised garden bed. Thanks!

    3. I am doing this too! Outside work and inside work :)