1. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    ChickenFreak's Progress Journal

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by ChickenFreak, Jul 14, 2014.

    I believe in simple goals. So my goal at the moment is: Write fiction.

    Just write the stuff. Good, bad, in between, write fiction. Regularly. Without those frequent multi-week or multi-month gaps.

    Oh, and stop posting it all to my blog. Because there are some bits that I have written that I rather wish I could polish up an submit as flash fiction, but I can’t, because I posted them.

    I’m not actually sorry that I posted them, because getting them out there and exposed to possible readers was a step that I needed, a step on the way to creating a mindset that would allow me to eventually submit stories to proper periodicals. But now that that crutch has gotten me where I wanted to go, it’s time to drop the crutch.

    Write fiction. So I sat myself down to write some. Five hundred words. Anybody can write five hundred words, right?

    And I wrote about an author, and the author told me (well, the author told the nameless other character in the scene) that he sits down to write every single day for the same reason that a jogger keeps on running in place when the jogger reaches a red light.

    He left me to figure out exactly what that means, but he explained that, also, if he forces himself to write at regular intervals, to write whether he's inspired or not inspired or working on something or not working on something, he's motivated to be inspired and working on something.

    Because if you have to sit down and write either way, the writing is a lot more fun if you're working toward something. If you’re the lazy sort and you let yourself get out of writing if you’re not inspired, then you’re motivated to be not-inspired. If you don’t let yourself out of the writing either way, then you’re motivated to be inspired.

    He took about 190 words to say that, and then he went on to sip his coffee, sweetened with sugar cubes, and why does he use sugar cubes? So I wrote about a passive-aggressive guest who refused to tell her hostess what she wanted to drink, because she "didn't want to be any trouble". She took another 190 words or so to drive her hostess quite out of her mind.

    Then two people in the middle of packing to move house talked past each other about where the rest of the rolls of tape were.

    Then a woman tried to do things despite imagining what her disapproving passive-aggressive mother would say.

    That took me to a little over 600 words. Total.

    The author in my head is right that this would be a lot more fun if I could dredge up some inspiration.
     
  2. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Are all these vignettes in a single piece, united by the theme of the Writer Who Keeps Writing?

    Dunno. Sounds like the writer in your head is pretty good at dredging up inspiration from wherever. Or rather, you are. :agreed:
     
  3. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    No, they're all separate. Part of my excuse for not writing is the "I don't know where to take this" problem. So I'm forcing myself to just write scenes, and if they stop or die due to lack of inspiration before the word requirement is over, I write another one. Later, I'll force myself to push them to a conclusion, but right now I'm trying to just cement the writing habit.

    I'm glad that you perceive some inspiration there. I did like the pieces a little better when I came back to them--though still not enough to see them as anything but practice.
     
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  4. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Today, a man deliberately annoyed and upset a waitress in a rotating restaurant, for 280 words.

    Then a woman who sees herself as pudgier than she wants to be argued with a friend about wearing something other than her usual oversized, draping clothes, for seventy words.

    And another woman, or perhaps it's the same one, started out with diet-compliant cucumbers and ended up with a feast of cheese, oil and garlic, and didn't really feel all that guilty about it.

    Apparently I'm hungry.
     
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  5. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Hmm. It's been a long time since I used this thread.

    So I kinda don't believe in writer's block, but lately I've been feeling this resistance to writing fiction, a thick, sticky resistance like trying to run through honey. Resistance to writing my fiction. When I'm looking at someone else's fiction, on this forum, I can happily write a few paragraphs to demonstrate this or that; that comes out easy. But writing so much as a sentence of my own stuff is a strain. What's with that?

    So I need to get back to the writing quota. My original quota, long ago, before this thread, was three hundred words a day. I'm going to that. Three hundred words a day of fiction. No requirements beyond that. I don't really care about producing lasting work. The goal, the entire goal, is to make it easier to run through the honey.

    Today's 314 words were an argument about writer's block, between a man whose ambling remarks suggest a lack of sobriety, and his friend, who's trying to get him to shut up so she can write. And a side argument about windowsill herb gardens.
     
  6. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Today, a woman makes a pencil drawing of a multicolored parrot, while a man argues with her about the authenticity of someone else's homemade scones. For precisely 301 words.
     
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  7. KaTrian

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Good to hear your writer's block (or honey-wading) has eased up. I never knew scones could be non-authentic. I don't think I'd notice a difference. :D
     
  8. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Thanks, KaTrian! Well, the pro-authenticity character insisted that a pastry cutter must be used.

    Today, a woman makes irritated remarks about weddings, and cheats Denny's out of a stack of pancakes. In exactly precisely 300 words.
     
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  9. GuardianWynn

    GuardianWynn Contributor Contributor

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    If I can ever help you Chicken Freak let me know :D

    I can't imagine actual maintaining 300 words a day. 2,100 a week though easy. I just can't only write 300 or I can't write everyday. I have to write 2,000 then take a break for a day or two. My record is 10,000 in one night but boy that was a mistake. Such a head ache.
     
  10. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    OK, my goal just got simpler, because I failed on the first goal.

    New goal: Write one screenful a day in a Scrivener project that I just created and called "Habit." For thirty days, with zero breaks. I can write anything. Anything at all. But I MUST write. Every. Single. Day.

    That's it. That's all. I've realized that the boundary that I don't seem to break through is simply sitting down and writing every day. That is, writing for myself, rather than in forums and such. My brain keeps blithering, "But what can I write? I should write fiction but I'm not ready. I'll do it later, later, later, later, later, later."

    So. Write. I'll put some effort into creating a specific habit--write in the morning before work? Write at 7pm when I should be done with work--and if I'm not, write and then get back at it? But the specificity is optional--the mandatory bit is writing.
     
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  11. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    OK, so that's two days of screenful-a-day. It's an itty bitty start.

    I'm noticing that now that the main summer garden is rolling along with limited maintenance, and it's too hot to do any serious digging for the late-summer-to-fall-to-winter garden, more of my time off is, well, off. I could be doing more writing.

    And suddenly I'm having a tremendous craving to go read sewing forums and dust off my serger.

    There is clearly a part of my brain that wants to sabotage my writing. I need to thwack it. I formed a theory, at one point, that my brain is reacting to the fact that my late mother would be FURIOUS if I had any success with writing. I should have a look at that theory. And maybe write more about it. :)
     
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  12. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Third day complete. No, I won't post every day. I think. Yknow, I might.

    I did give in and go over to read Stitcher's Guild. Bad Chickenfreak!

    This morning, it occurred to me that gardening might be somewhat compatible with writing, because there are elements of gardening that are mindlessly meditative, leaving room to think through plots and characters, while your hands are too busy to give in to the temptation to, say, read something on your phone.

    This morning: Insert the garden fork, push it down, tilt it about forty degrees, lift the fork, move it back about two inches, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, roughly 150 times per bed. The bed's very pretty. I might plant those little short carrots.
     
  13. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Dangit! I missed Tuesday. Restarted Wednesday. Hmph.
     
  14. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributor Contributor

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    You're funny, @ChickenFreak. :)

    Interesting perspective on your mom. My mom wanted to be a writer, but sadly she only had a grade seven education (I don't know how to translate that into British, but if you're American, I guess it's more or less that same). She still did write and fell prey to that whole vanity press thing. I have no idea how she would feel about any success I might have as a writer (although when she heard I'd sold my first screenplay, she called me... but that was to borrow money).
     
  15. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Drifting back to this progress journal after a bunch of months. I posted elsethread about the question of why I find writing anti-relaxing. It occurred to me that I've never tried intermittent "puttering" writing--I always try to give my writing full focus, for at least the hour or so that I'm writing. But I'm not so good at full focus. So let's try some puttering.
     
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  16. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributor Contributor

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    Nice coin, @ChickenFreak. I'm telling the forum spell-checker to recognize this as a word. :)
     
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  17. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    All right, I'm trying to drag myself back to forming a habit. Just a habit. No more goal than that. 300 words of fiction a day. On what I please. OK, if I'm traveling and have no computer, 100 words on my phone, just to keep the habit oiled.

    I just wrote two people squabbling over him erasing his crossword puzzle too noisily and then refusing to go fetch her a seam ripper. 303 words. I'll probably never see those characters again. So?

    It probably took me ten minutes. There is no excuse, no excuse whatsoever, for slacking on a habit that just takes me ten minutes a day. That's not to say that I won't find some excuses, but I say right here that they won't be valid. I can analyze and theorize and armwave and sputter all I want about why I have trouble forcing myself to write fiction, but there's still no excuse. I am a firm advocate of sit down and write, and firmly in opposition to "I have to wait for inspiration!" so I should put my typing fingers where my mouth is.

    My latest thought (I'm allowed to talk about it now that I've written the 303 words for the day) is about a recent article that said that our brains are addicted to the "seek" experience, perhaps even more than we're addicted to pleasure, and that Googling and very likely also forum browsing and posting feed that brain urge. So that may be why when I sit down at bbEdit or Scrivener, my brain tries very very hard to drag me into a forum instead.

    Anyway.
     
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  18. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Huh. I just went through a bunch of files, and found chunks of Tulips and Butter that I have absolutely no memory of having written. Absolutely none. Not just that I forgot the words, but I forgot the plot elements, entirely.

    That's just weird.
     
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  19. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    307 words. Roommates. She complained to him about his failure to mothball the sweaters as promised, and then the conversation progressed. Or deteriorated.

    “I’m never getting married.”
    “Obviously.”
    “Kids are involved.”
    “Well, they’re not mandatory.”
    “They could happen. Like moths.”
    “That’s a… actually, not a bad metaphor.”
    “Don’t let your chick friends hear you say that.”
    “They know how I feel about kids.”
    “Waste of space.”
    “Well, I wouldn’t go that far.”
    “I mean, in the larval stage. When they get big enough to pay my Social Security, that’s different.”
     
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  20. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    200 words exactly, about grooming a Persian cat. Well, about the fearful anticipation.
     
  21. NoGoodNobu

    NoGoodNobu Contributor Contributor

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    Is the cat regularly groomed, or has it ever been? Is it an obvious mess of matts, or was it naively brushed to disguise the pelts—the uncombed undercoat hot, itchy, and tight against the skin, an execrutiating secret endured in silence by the poor creature?

    Or is the Persian simply prone to hissy fits regardless?

    I'm very agitated just imagining a fictional character grooming a Persian cat. . .
     
  22. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Hissy fits. It's a luxuriously cared-for cat, but the groomer is on vacation, so the cat's owner has demanded that her (adult) daughter groom it.
     
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  23. NoGoodNobu

    NoGoodNobu Contributor Contributor

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    A daunting task, to be sure. Not to be taken up lightly by any mere mortal

    (Thank god my feral rescues magically happened to be Maine Coon mixes, with their light density undercoats requiring no attention & their bizarrely affectionate and long suffering dispositions in the case I do opt to bathe them. I don't think I could manage a Persian—and I was a grooming assistant for several years)

    God speed for that poor (adult) daughter
     
  24. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Maine Coons! I love Maine Coons! We adopted a brother and sister from the shelter that very strongly appeared to be Maine Coons, though they certainly had nothing resembling a pedigree. She was smarter, he was bigger. But neither of them were all that smart; a friend once laughed hysterically to see the upright bag of kibble, right there ready to fall over at a tap of a paw, but they never tapped.

    In the grooming realm, when they were under stress she obsessively groomed herself to perfection, and he stopped grooming entirely.

    They both died in youngish middle age. I still dream about hugging him.

    Sniff.
     
  25. NoGoodNobu

    NoGoodNobu Contributor Contributor

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    I could probably work myself into an emotional fit about mine—one we found wandering our ranch as a crying kitten, one was from a litter of feral cats that breed in my friend's yard. The first is female, and not very bright but has the softest fur; the second was male, had three thumbs, and was so smart he realized he could turn door knobs & dispense fresh water for himself from the water cooler. He just passed recently, and I too dream of holding & loving on him.

    Anyway, about you're progress journal:

    Just a reminder I love your writings and think them utterly brilliantly

    I'm glad to hear you're committing to a process you believe in. I believe in you〜
     
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