Sunday, October 17, 2010

Way Too Proud Of This

This was not going the way she had expected. Why was it so hard to write 1,000 words? Usually limits were a burden, something to persevere against or labor under. Staring at her blank computer screen, infinity seemed a different kind of burden, an endless pit or never-ending night, some giant room devoid of oxygen. There had to be a generator something…some list of neglected and forgotten ideas free for the borrowing, the adjusting, and the fulfilling. A farm somewhere filled with soft, snowy white plot bunnies just waiting to be invited home. 


Dear Me-Two-Days-Ago,

You are much wiser than I gave you credit for. Moments ago I found myself bitter and angry with you, wondering why you would commit me to more work and stress, as if I needed any. But I was wrong, and I am sorry



Getting my Shakespeare midterm complete early gave me a feeling of satisfaction and pride I probably didn't deserve considering it was only "early" by a few hours. Still, when I remembered that I had set a deadline for more work on my story by Sunday, the wave of my self-satisfaction I was riding crashed. I re-checked my original commitment, and it was vague, as all the easiest-to-keep are. 

When I opened the story to add something worth posting, it was not the burden or chore I expected. I told myself "Just one paragraph" and then it came: a fully formed idea for a handful of sentences. It's true, it was just one paragraph, but I am feeling that self-satisfaction again, as though I am finally starting to beat this Writer's Block. Hopefully this one paragraph is the first of many.

And I do mean many. Kelly, a long-time close friend who has moved to Utah and whom I miss dearly, invited me/challenged me to participate in NaNoWriMo, and because I love her and want to do something with her and because I'm crazy, I agreed. If you haven't heard of NaNoWriMo, then I will tell you it stands for National Novel Writing Month. Should anything about that title intrigue you, I direct you to for more information. Check it out, consider participating, I think we'll both get a lot from it. 

So, now I've got NaNoWriMo in the background, but I'm feeling as confident as I think I could feel about it. I sketched out a few character profiles and came up with a few plot concepts and conflict scenarios. I have 2 weeks to flesh it out, but I have a really solid starting-point. Also, I'm not going to stress about quality. The key here is quantity, and I'm going to let myself create without critique. If the idea warrants revision, certainly I would do so. But to start with, I'm just concerned with length and word count. A second draft can flesh out concepts requiring, culling of useless bits, adjustments where necessary; what I am doing is giving myself the freedom to be terrible, which ultimately releases me from the fear of failure. Somehow this has resulted in the biggest creative spurt I have experienced in months, and it has translated into completing my Shakespeare midterm moderately early, as well as the posting of this blog and the progress within it. 

Feeling pretty good, which is a remarkable change from the last few days. As the Junebug would say--ONWARD!


Toy said...

Shakespeare final?
Do you happen to be English 045?

And great going! It's really hard to write sometimes, but you have to just push right on through and type/write anyway.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I am taking English 045! I'm taking it online with Broer. It's actually a pretty easy class, 2 weeks to read the plays and the assignments are all essays. I would recommend it to other English majors, but I do admit I was hoping to learn a bit more from an "expert" about Shakespeare and his language. Ah well, can't complain about an easy A! :o)

Toy said...

Ahh. I was thinking of taking it online too, but by the time I got there, only the on-campus one was open. So I jumped into that. I'm taking it with Mrs. Sheil, and I adore the class.
We mostly just read the books in-class, then have a weekly discussion on etudes. It's fun, but it gets a bit dull at times, having to read out-loud in class, lol.
And I understand that. On a lot of the online classes I've taken, I don't feel that I've "learned" that much. Because you aren't listening to too many lectures, it's just notes so it's not as...dynamic as it is in class. But you have more freedom to complete assignments, and that's a plus if you can't always go to the campus on the assigned days.

Anonymous said...

Wow, discussions? That's sounds awesome. We don't even have lecture notes. Our class is really simple. You read the play and then there is a "discussion" question on it. For half the plays you do an original 200 word response to the question. For the other half you do a 30 word response to someone else's response. I read the first two plays, but just couldn't finish Henry V, and it didn't even matter because the question was easy and there isn't any follow-up. I mean, really there is no added insight from the teacher. It's all student generated content. Even when you asked her questions, her responses are so vague they are almost useless. We were supposed to mail a paper (in like...the real mail and everything) and I didn't read that part of the directions so I asked her if I should mail it late, or if she would give me full credit if I dropped it off (since dropping it off would get it there the same day Snail Mail would). Her response was "I'll be looking for your paper." Like...really? What does that even mean?

I think you got lucky taking it on campus! Creative Writing is a really good example of a class that you can take on the internet and still learn a lot...Shakespeare, not so much >.<