Categories
IAmAWhinyBitch Poems writing

Write A Day

Back in December Leigh published the following blog all about the diary challenge that she had recently completed and how you could do the same.

It was a call to action to all of us who want to write and sometimes have an issue in finding the time or the motivation.

The basic story is that a few years ago Leigh decided to fill a page of a diary each day with writing for a single year. Life, of course, didn’t make things easy and it took her more than the one year to finish the diary. The important part is that she finished the diary. The really important part is that in doing so she not only achieved a goal but she built up good habits about just writing.

Writing isn’t easy and it isn’t natural and people who say that it is are generally not telling a whole truth. It can become more practiced but it is not easy, and I am not so sure it should be. In order to write you need a lot of motivation, you need to make time and you have to be prepared to keep at it. Like any skill it generally improves with practice. Sure, there are some people who find it easier than others, some natural advantages from evolution, upbringing and attitude perhaps, but even they say probably don’t say it is easy.

I have had some issues with my motivation. I haven’t been writing fiction or even wanting to write. I haven’t felt like even writing my diary entries. All of that was not making me happy.

I did motivate Leigh to publish her call to action to inspire people and I know it has done so as they responded and I have spoken to some about their efforts (keep at it guys, if you miss days don’t stress). If you missed the 1st January don’t worry. I would say that you can start anytime in the year and now is likely a good time to start as you can pick up a diary for less cost.

As for me. I don’t generally use my diary except for work appointments and the formal tasks that I live my life by. I don’t really find the format of a diary condusive to writing for me. It reminds me too much of my structured work and community life.

I like note books.

I like journals.

I like mixed media.

I like the book I bought to try and write every day this year.

I have done so every day this year.

I write a page each day, probably less than 200 words so fairly light. Sometimes I write a little more, sometimes a couple of pages. I write poems and draw sketches in there as well. I have wrote every day so far. Sometimes I have written more than once a day.

On the one day I missed, I wrote twice on the following day to catch up. That was once, I don’t feel it was a fail, but I made sure to think about what I would write before going to sleep even though I was too tired (and a little drunk) to write, and then wrote it the next morning. If I don’t have my journal with me I write in any A6 book I can find and then tear the pages out and put them in the journal later (yes I am bloody odd, thanks for asking).

I was inspired, you see by these words:

“If the diary challenge has taught me anything it’s how to get over that fear of the blank page.”

I am not really scared of a blank page I got over that, but I am for sure tired of never filling one of them. I got tired of looking at a blank page and just not caring if I wrote on it. I wanted to kill my de-motivation. Also, I kinda liked the idea of somethign as crazy mad as this:

“It would be difficult for me to give a break down of exactly what is in the damn thing. At least 1 complete script, 50,000 words of a novel, and many many many short stories, flash fiction, ideas, characters, bits of novels, plots and poems. There are zombies, pirates, aliens, apocalypses, angels and demons, bond villains, parallel universes and a lot of weird Christmas stories. Sounds like the best book ever, right? Well it wasn’t all fun. There’s at least one page describing my fishtank, some shockingly bad poetry, and some filler days that are just my RPG characters having arguments with each other, just to mention a few of the pages I’m less proud of. But it’s done.”

So I want to thank my beautiful, and slightly bat-sugar-insane, wife for inspiring me. I am one sixth into this crazy challenge and I am two thirds through my first A6-ish mixed page journal. For the curious types I use these journals for writing and sketching in, love them.

 

 

Categories
Diary IAmAWhinyBitch

Chicago Hates Me

1st June 2013
Over the Atlantic near Canada

This morning I awoke at four forty to start the long day of travel that would see me arrive at Austin, Texas for this years YEt Another Perl Conference, North America. The journey would be a drive to the airport, Manchester, an eight hour flight to Chicago, a three hour stop over, and then a three hour flight to Austin.

Things started so well. The drive was clear as it was six in the morning, the weather was fair and roads empty.

I got to the airport and it took almost two hours to get past the check in desks and baggage drop off due to the seemingly non working luggage conveyors. Though I overheard a conversation which indicated they did in fact work and someone had just turned them off for some reason.

Anyway security was mostly empty as everyone was stuck at check in and baggage drop so the day seemed to get better again. But, I was elated too soon.

You see Chicago hates me.

Last year flying back from Chicago after YAPC we hit storms, the flight was cancelled, we had a ten hour wait at Chicago, then slept over in Chicago then flew the next day to Dallas and then flew to the UK that evening and arrived home two days late.

I am on the plane writing this. We are not flying directly to Chicago as planned. We are flying to Bangor first so we will have enough fuel to circle around Chicago as the are storms at Chicago.

Once again I am getting delays and I have no idea how this affects my connecting flights…because…Chicago hates me…

…or maybe it loves me and this is a way of getting me to spend more time there.

1st June 2013
At the airport lounge

Arrived in Chicago eighty minutes late, thankfully there was a four hour window between my flights as the immigration – customs – baggage – change terminal – TSA and security dance was again too much fun.

But it looks as if my connecting flight is on time so I have a good thirty minutes to relax before moving on to the next stage of the long haul to Texas.

Categories
Benjamin Diary Elliott Holidays

Another Kindness of Strangers

18 May 2013
On a train from Paris to Marne le Vallee

I am sat here wondering how, aside from using it in the title of this piece, I can work in the line from the Tenesse Williams play:

“I have always relied on the kindness of strangers.”

I guess I just did.

I am in Paris, home to the maligned Parisians, who some would have you believe are the most arrogant citizens in Europe. Some of those who hold that belief are British so the hypocrisy is thoroughly on display as I think we English hold records in the stuff.

I don’t hold that belief about Parisians or the French in general. Aside from knowing many nice French people I have also stayed in Paris more than once and find them easily as polite, if not more so, than Londoners.

So I guess I shouldn’t visit London for a while.

Today was a typical example. We have two small children and are hopping buses in Paris. We have had people help us onto the buses with the pram. Hold open doors. And the one moment than strikes the best, sat waiting at a bus stop and a gentleman gave Ben and Elliott a banana to share.

I don’t rely on the kindness of strangers. I usually plan ahead. But I do so like it when I experience it.

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