So on 15th May, I completed my goal of writing 500 words every day for 30 days. My target was 15,000 words, but on the last day my total was 20, 221 words. Every day I ended up writing more than 500 words. Sometimes 800 or even more than 1,000. I cannot say it all depended on inspiration or whether or not I was in the mood to write. Sometimes I used a prompt, sometimes I used a picture, or sometimes I just picked up a random sentence or thought or a fragment of my crazy fantasies, and wrote. Some days I almost thought of not writing, but then I remembered that I’m not becoming a writer if I don’t write everyday. If I have to see my name in print someday, then I have to write every day. I decided to do it, and now I cannot afford breaking promises I made to myself.
If you don’t want to work your ass off, you have no business trying to write well. -Stephen King, On Writing
I never had the temptation to quit before hitting 500 words. I picked up the pen and started writing and did not stop until I’d finished, even though I could see with every word what shit I was writing and that the piece wasn’t going to go anywhere. It did not have a future beyond these two pages, and I had to accept that. And maybe that made getting the words down on page easier. The only thing that pushed me forward was the reminder that these were the 2.5 million words of shit I have to get written before the creative genius springs out of me.
After 34 days of writing every day (I made another goal of writing everyday for the next 30 days; I even wrote on my birthday), my best writing streak so far, I’ve learned a bunch of things. Most days, you have to make yourself write because even though you love writing, there are rarely days when you are in the mood to write. Only when you will force yourself to write every day will it become a subconscious habit, and soon, you’ll be in the mood to write every day, because by then, you just can’t not write. And until that happens, you keep going, filling page after page with scribbled shit.
On days when the words kept flowing, it seemed like I could do it all day (only if there wasn’t our dog begging me for treats or my mother asking me to get her something from the shop down the street; but most days, I was undisturbed, probably because I wrote before bed).
I was so happy and proud of myself when I wrote more words than my goal, but there was no one who I could tell that to. No one around me really understands the joys and pains and the hard work that comes with being a writer, so I come here. Because someone out there reading this probably knows what it is like to persist, to beat your own writing streak, what it is like to having written.
I bought On Writing by Stephen King from my savings as a gift to myself for my birthday, and after reading it, the little doubt I had whether I’m really supposed or be a writer or not, is partly gone. (I say partly because I still doubt my abilities, and I have been told that some doubt is good – without it, you cease to be an artist.) All the articles and books I’ve read about writing tell me that I cannot be a writer if I can live without writing. I cannot be a writer if I’m not willing to work hard and persist, even though it seems like I’m swimming in a sea of hopelessness. And the most important – that I should be enjoying it. If I’m not enjoying it, I shouldn’t be doing it. Simple as that.
Am I willing to work hard? Am I enjoying writing? Am I willing to keep writing even if the world around me tells me that I cannot survive by writing? The answers is, yes, I am. Because no one who is not passionate about writing decides to write 2.5 million words. No one who does not want to be a writer thinks writing more words than you intended is amazing. No one who does not like writing thinks that actually finishing a piece is a reason for celebration, because it means that, unlike most others, you did not quit. I am the crazy one to do all of these. Nothing makes me happier than writing, even when all that comes out of me is words of absolute hopelessness.
I am crazy. And that’s because I am a writer.