Day 1: 1,685 words written.
Woke up at 5am, wrote 750 words before work.
During lunch, wrote another 363 words.
Baby asleep, dinner ate, wrote another 572 words.
Target goal was 1,667. Ahead by 18 words and hopefully I can keep building on that momentum.
Discovered that earplugs and a sign/indicator that I’m in writing-mode goes a long ways in helping.
Five days until National Novel Writing Month starts. Wow that snuck up fast. As I said before, my intent with the 31 Days of Writing was to gear up and set successful habits to help me during NaNoWriMo. I feel like I have accomplished that.
I have only missed 2 days of posting so far during this month, but I have still managed to write each day. Now though I must turn my focus to my novel project as well as recharge some of my creative juices while I still can.
So it begins.
One of my problems I encounter every day is taking ideas and making them my own. I see or experience something and rarely am I ever content to just leave it be. I take it, process it, synthesize it, twist it, and make it my own.
We all do this to some degree. Our humor, music choices, clothing styles, our favorite movies… Sadly however, not many of us really take these things and make them our own. We decorate our rooms based off of ideas from Pinterest, we watch movies or TV instead of reading the books and picturing it all for ourselves. In a way, we have become lazy with our imaginations yet we criticize the people who are not. How can you criticize a movie, TV show, a book, or any other imaginative piece when you are not even using your own?
The reason why I started writing was because I still have not seen any of my ideas out there. At the end of the day, the only person that will put them out there is me. Whether I write about them or talk about them, make movies or plays… I have yet to encounter the ignoramus that will say: “Oh! You’re a writer! I have this idea you should write about…” I write about my own ideas, not yours. If you wish to seem them out there, the only one that will make it so is you.
More recently, I think it is ironic how most of the people that you will encounter come off as patronizing as you share some of your ideas with them. The look is similar to how a parent would be listening to their child explain some far-fetched concept that has no basis in reality. They give you this look because that way of thinking was supposed to be stamped out a long time ago when you started becoming a “productive” adult. Either secretly or unwilling to admit to it, they are just jealous.
We get our ideas from that which we surround ourselves with. The people we talk to, the situations we experience, the things we see. Never be afraid to put your spin on another’s idea for then it becomes something completely new and different.
8 days left until the start of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). That has been my goal all along and I have used this month as a stepping stone towards that. I do plan on posting to the blog here during NaNoWriMo, but it is not going to be my primary focus as it has been for this month.
The point of NaNoWriMo is to get a 50,000 word rough draft down on paper. Whether it be physical paper or digital, just so long as its been jotted down. I attempted to do this last year but fell short due to an overall lack of knowing what exactly I was doing. I have had a whole year to prepare though and things are going to be different.
With that, here is my plan:
- 50,000 words ÷ 30 days = ~1,667 words per day
- I can type up to 85 words per minute which means that I theoretically can:
- Type 1,667 words in less than 20 minutes
- Type 500 words in less than 6 minutes
At the very least, during the weekdays I plan on writing 500 words in the morning, 500 during lunch, and then the remaining 667 or whatever is left at the end of the day. The morning is where I will have the most uninterrupted time since both my wife and daughter are still asleep when I leave for work.
During the weekends, its weapons free. Writing only 1,667 The biggest issue will be eliminating other distractions such as people, TV, video games, etc. Each weekend or holiday period that I will have time off (Veteran’s Day for example), I will go someplace out of the house to write. Starbucks for example… or just anywhere really.
That is the base concept of how I plan on getting through NaNoWriMo. Things will adjust a little bit on a day-by-day basis, but the framework is there.
Being a father changes things, but not how you might think. Those who know these things are either already a parent or will quickly learn in nine months time. Fatherhood is something that cannot be taught, only experienced. But I am going to take a stab at it anyways…
Fatherhood strains a relationship. Not because of any previously existing discontent between you and your significant other, but because there will be a period of time when you have not fully realized your situation yet. You never do until nine months later and you finally get to hold your child for the first time. For your wife/girlfriend on the other hand, its been real all this time. She tries to understand, but cannot. She began realizing everything as soon as the first physical changes started happening to her body. Nine months seems like a long time looking forward at it, but its a drop in the bucket in hindsight.
Life as a father is different, but that does not mean you completely lose it for the next eighteen years. Yes, you have added responsibilities as this fleshy little meat-bag is now dependent on you and what you can offer it. That does not mean that the laws of physics have suddenly changed to where the universe suddenly revolves around your child however. I have seen many people lie to themselves by saying “I’m not ready to have kids because there is so much else that I still want to do with my life.” Having kids is not about what you have to give up, but what you want to include them in…
Many others tell themselves: “I’ll have kids when I am ready.” You are never ready and I am telling you that you never will be either. But that is the joy of it. Parenting is not about knowing everything and being completely prepared for every situation you may encounter. You will raise a robot that way by trying to teach them, not show them, the things you wish you would have known. Just because you are now the teacher does not mean that you suddenly stop being the student as well. You learn and they learn, and you both become the kind of person that you want to see exist in this world.
The long nights and less free time will inevitably wear on you. You will still go to work and still do your projects around the house because those are the things that you have to do. Its not that you do not have time anymore, you just cannot afford to waste it. Time that you would have normally have spent mindlessly playing video games, gossiping about meaningless sporting events, or whatever other leisure activity of your choice. If you were wasting time to begin with, then what really were you accomplishing? Yes, sometimes you do have to waste time in order to make time but by having less of it you will be more grateful of how you waste your time in the first place.
On the outside looking it, everyone only sees the negative aspects of parenting. The crying, the fussing, the dirty diapers, the sleepless nights… People see and latch onto the negativity, refusing to ever see the good. I can tell you, the good greatly outweighs the bad. My daughter’s smile, her laughs, her gaze, her curiosity… I know, it sounds all mushy and emotional but it is really some of the purest emotions that you ever can and ever will experience. Unfortunately, you cannot have the good without the bad and most can only realize the latter.
My daughter is five months old now. I see myself as a better person by becoming a father but not a different one. To those on the outside looking in, I probably do look different and, until now, have only been able to fathom as to the reasons why. I have not really changed, but my perspective has.
I, like any other working-class citizen, look forward to Fridays. Today, work ended early and I jumped on my motorcycle to begin the therapeutic ride home. I merge onto the interstate and other drivers in the same mindset as me are filling the lanes. No traffic jams yet. Everyone is in a rush to get started on their weekend plans.
A few miles later I merge my way to left lane of the highway, ready to jump into the HOV lane as soon as it opens up. Thank you California, for having some sense in allowing motorcycles to use that handy feature. Cars are beginning to crowd the left lanes like normal, thinking that everyone goes faster if they are in the left lane. The number of people who have the same idea slows the traffic down to 75mph, still 10mph above the posted speed limit.
Five seconds after I cancel my turn signal for my merge into the left lane, a grey Mazda 3 appears in my right mirror, speeding up to pass. As she drives by, middle finger high in the air, she flies by me and the cars ahead of me for reasons I can only speculate. Merging into the HOV lane, I see the Mazda’s brake lights come on, now in one of the right lanes, as a traffic jam begins to form. I think about waving as I drive past but think better of it. Traffic in the left lanes continues to flow.
I understand that the Mazda was likely frustrated with the conglomeration of other cars. They simply were not in as big of a rush as what she was, myself included. She was in an obvious rush to get to wherever she was going in order to do whatever it was she wanted to do. So much so that she felt it necessary to wave the profane gesture while speeding by angrily as if to make a point. As she rushed through traffic, she was blinded to the fact that they were only in her way because she was rushing.
There are no benefits to rushing. You never get there any faster and/or you end up making a mistake along the way that costs you even more time. This can applies in traffic, at work, in relationships, and in life.
When you rush, the focus is only on the desired end state and never on the path towards achieving it. Obstacles go hidden or unnoticed. When an obstacle is encountered, the entire assembly line shuts down. The train-wreck occurs and you are the one that suffers silently in your anger.
Are you ever really in that big of a hurry? The big project at work is on a deadline, but if you hurry the reviewing process will come back to haunt you. Weaving in and out of traffic after you get off of work gains you five minutes back from the thirty that you had to stay late because your boss decided to strike up a conversation. That is only if you remember to slow down for the cop that usually hides behind the blind corner to avoid a speeding ticket.
Not rushing does not mean being idle. To be idle means standing still, not doing anything or going anywhere. Rushing is like trying to run downhill. How fast will you try and go before you trip and fall the rest of the way down? If you are always rushing towards something, you will never enjoy the present. If something gets in your way, don’t hit it like a bird trying to fly through a window.