As I enter into the last week of National Novel Writing Month, I’ve begun to reflect on what’s coming after this. I intend to keep up my writing every day. Probably at a slower pace of at least 1,000 words a day unless that feels too light after all of my cramming in the last couple weeks of November. I probably won’t go much higher than 2,000 though. More than that tends to put too much stress on me and I am really going to need to rest after this month. A lot. Beyond even the mental and emotional rest I’ve been denying myself. My wrists hurt and my elbows ache from being pressed into the awkwardly placed arms of my chair. My fingers are still and achy, caught between the warmth of constant movement and the cold air the rest of my prefers to have wafting over my monitors and into the rest of my room. My sleep schedule will need repair as I’ll finally be getting more than 5 hours of it at a time. I’ll have to do something about my caffeine dependency without going entirely cold turkey. I need to stay cognizant at work. Maybe do a few weeks or months of tea only.
There’s a lot to think about and to plan for. I’ve enjoyed the feeling of updating this blog every day, but having to come up with prompts, inspiration, and tips every day is make this a lot less fun than I’d like it to be. I’d like to get a buffer made, too. Write a week’s worth of posts ahead of time so I don’t need to worry about forgetting on night or what happens when I need to stay up late to finish my writing. Also, what do I post about for? Book reviews are good. I’d also like to get some of my creative writing up here, too. I want to start addressing issues I feel qualified to talk about. Also boost other projects I see that I think are cool, even if I don’t really have a huge audience yet. Maybe a weekly story update of some continuing adventure? There are just so many things I can post, but they all sound like way more work than the random hodge-podge I’ve posted here in the past.
I suppose that’s the price of setting goals, though, isn’t it? I might actually have to work. If I can get a structure hammered out and start actually creating content ahead of time rather than writing these updates at midnight or later of the day I’m going to post them, then I should be able to do this more easily than I think.
I know my readership isn’t very constant and I’ll admit I’ve got no idea how accurate the WordPress stats tracking is, but I would definitely love to hear from anyone who reads this blog. Tell me what you would like to see, what you’ve enjoyed me posting about, and I’ll look into my most-viewed posts to see if I can find a theme. Talking about my depression seems to get a lot of views most of the time, but so did talking about NaNoWriMo during the first week of this month, so who knows?
At the end of the day, I’m really doing this for myself, to prove that I can, and this wouldn’t be the first blog I eventually abandon because I wanted to change the way I present myself online. I’m a bit more fond of this one, though, so who knows? I mean, I actually paid money for this blog instead of just using the free option so I could have a URL without the .wordpress part. Maybe this’ll explode in a super rewarding way and I’ll get the sort of feedback and participation I want and keep updating this blog until the day I die? The future is far-off and inscrutable. I’m sure I’ll find out eventually, though.
We all make mistakes. One of the most famous “sayings” points this out to us. “To err is human.” Half the time we make mistakes, they wind up being better for us in the long run because we’ve learned a new lesson or found ourselves with an opportunity we never expected to have. There’s a certain mental philosophy out there that there’s no such thing as a true mistake aside from choosing not to make the best of whatever happens. We spend a lot of time trying to convince ourselves that this is true, perhaps to keep us from wondering what might have happened if we hadn’t made the mistake. Maybe we appreciate what happened because of our mistake, but it can be hard to avoid wondering if things would have been better for us if we hadn’t messed up. The times we can actually find out are so few and far-between that the whole concept is a popular iteration of stories about wishes being granted, almost as popular as seeing how worse the world would be if we’d never been born (“It’s a Wonderful Life” style). Write a scene in which your character, through whatever means you life, gets a chance to find out how things would have been if they hadn’t messed up before. For those of you writing more real-world oriented fiction, maybe they’ve got a second chance at a date they missed or a new opportunity for interview for a job they didn’t get.
Today’s inspiration is Wikipedia, the source of literally every bit of useless information I need to write about any number of things. I once spent an entire night learning about ships, sailing, and boats, with a few forays into diverse topics that showed up in surprising places. Fried chicken–chicken cooked in hot oil–started in China and traveled to Italy as a result of sea-faring trade and eventually made its way to the southern half of the US where it became breaded chicken cooked in hot oil because there was just so much grain down there that people just threw it at everything just to see what would happen. This practice also resulted in what we call country fried steak. So much useless information for the inquisitive mind that can wind up being surprisingly useful when you least expect it. Most of what I learned about searching for good results I learned from trying to avoid Wikipedia pages on Google. There is just so much information on those pages that is either un-cited or refers to sources that aren’t necessarily trustworthy. I have no idea if fried chicken really came to the US because of the slave trade, but it sure gives you something to think about. If you posses a critical mind capable of reveling in new information without losing the right amount of skepticism to doubt everything on some level until it is proved beyond the shadow of a doubt, Wikipedia is one of the best places to go to just stir up your mind in a whirl of new thoughts.
Sometimes, it can be helpful to look at the world through fresh eyes. As we grow, we often lose the ability to see the magic and wonder in the more mundane parts of life. We’re all quite used to getting up in the morning by our alarm clocks, but have you ever really thought about how much work had to happen in order for your phone to be small enough to fit in your pocket, smart enough to be able to tell the time even when it’s not connected to the internet, complex enough to handle not just time-tracking but also the management of all the hardware parts that keep your phone going. All of that does without even thinking about the electricity that powers your phone or the way the screens can detect the touch of fingers.
If you have trouble with taking a step back to really look at things, the easiest way to regain that ability is just head to Wikipedia. Spend a lot of time learning about really mundane things like the origins of Fried Chicken and how older TVs worked, specifically the ones that predated flat-screen TVs. Learn about the process of how coffee goes from being a bean growing in the dirt to an integral part of your morning routine. Learn about the origin of energy drinks and how caffeine is added or removed from soda. Learn about why keyboards are laid out the way they are and why staring at a monitor for too long hurts your eyes. Another way to do it is to spend time why an inquisitive child who wants to learn about everything. Teach a child to ask “why” and you’ll wind up learning more than you believed possible, all while restoring some of the wondering and mystery to the world you thought you understood.