Well, I guess I did it. With this post, I have completed one full year of writing.
It’s a little hard for me to believe. In some ways it feels like I just started. How could a year pass so quickly?
And in other ways, it feels like I’ve been doing this forever.
There have been nights where the thought of turning on my computer and writing one thousand words was enough to make me want to cry.
And other nights where the words just poured out of me. Where I reached one thousand and wanted to write a thousand more and then another thousand.
From time to time over the past twelve months, I daydreamed about the end, about sitting in bed writing this very post. What I would say, how I would feel knowing I set a goal and attained it, reflecting on what I have learned.
But even when I was fantasizing about the end, I never once considered giving up. I have discovered something I love.
True to form, I have to say that I don’t think I have been entirely successful in this project.
My goal was to write one thousand words every night and I didn’t. I missed eighty one nights, almost three months, twenty three percent, one and a half days a week.
Now maybe my goal was unreasonable. Maybe with a challenging job and busy life it was too much to expect that I would write for a couple of hours every single day.
Maybe outside of school, seventy seven percent isn’t such a bad average. But I still don’t like it.
Even though I wrote less than I wanted to, I have gained a lot from the past year.
I’ve become a better writer, a quicker writer. I see it at work, when I’m writing grants and letters, and I see it in these posts.
I just re-read my first blog and it was a little hard to get through… long paragraphs, rambling. And if I’m remembering correctly it took me a long time to write it.
My writing is definitely better now.
I’ve also shared a lot of things that I’ve never shared before. Thoughts that I still would never express out loud.
Several people have told me that they feel like they know me better after reading my blogs. And they probably do. It’s somehow easier to tell a blank page about your non-relationship with your father or your contentment with being an “old maid” or your feelings about being overweight than it is to say it to someone’s face.
And of course, there’s my “work in progress.” I never would have discovered Daniel, Pastor Sebastian and all those other great characters if I hadn’t just started writing.
It might not go anywhere, but at least I’ll have tried.
So what now?
Now I set new goals.
First, I want to get to 365,000 words. It would just make me feel better. I plan to write a couple of one thousand words posts a week until I’ve made up those eighty one misses.
And I’m going to keep on blogging. Maybe not seven days a week (which I did this past year, even if they were just “I’m not writing” posts) but at least five times.
I like the way blogging has changed the way I look at the world, think about the world.
I notice more things around me. Do you think I would have given the statue of liberty guy dancing in front of the tax service a second thought if I hadn’t been looking for a blog topic?
Or even listened to the story about the guy getting shot by his girlfriend in his pickup truck?
I don’t want to lose those observational skills.
But I’m not going to hamper myself with having to write one thousand words. Or limit myself, for that matter.
I want to focus on good, clean writing. Succinct writing. And not worry about how many words are on the page.
Having that word count was helpful at first, but in the past few months I’ve cringed every time I’ve written, “as a matter of fact” or “in my opinion” or any of those little word packages I’ve employed to boost the word count.
Plus, one thousand words is a lot to read. I can’t believe people even made it halfway through some of these posts.
I also want to continue writing book reviews and posting them. That’s a craft I want to learn and this project has taught me it’s all about practicing.
And then there’s my previously set goal of finishing my work in progress (which I’m now calling “All In”) by Thanksgiving. To reach this goal, I’ll need to write 3500 words a week.
So I guess I’ll be too busy with my new goals to miss these old one thousand word posts.
Even though I whine that I didn’t write twenty three percent of the time, I am proud.
A year ago I started this project on a whim, because an author I admired encouraged a roomful of people to write and then I read a cheesy mystery with a character who could write one thousand words at the drop of a hat.
I’m not sure I even expected to stick with it.
But I did. And, at the risk of sounding melodramatic, it has become an extremely important part of my life.
I’ve never been quick to label myself, to claim a particular talent. I’m in the small percentage that underestimates their abilities rather than inflates them. I think “I can’t do that” more often than “I can do that.”
But this “writing adventure,” as I called it at the very beginning, has given me the confidence to label myself a writer.
At Booktopia last month, one of the authors looked at my name tag and asked, “Are you Heather the blogger?”
I blushed and stammered. But yes, damn it, I am Heather the blogger.
I am a writer.