I used to keep some habits. I had a habit app on my phone. It made me read every day. Write every day. Do something every day. And then, I got a little bit sick. (Okay, so I was on a ton of tablets to try keep my temperature down, and it happened right around my graduation, which was not fun.) After that, I never picked things back up again. I mean that literally and figuratively. I dropped some habits, and I literally didn’t open a couple of poetry books I had been reading at the time.
Being such a fan of New Year’s Resolutions, and wanting to get back into forming daily habits, I set myself two goals: 1 flash fiction story every day, and 10 random ideas to be written into my notebook.
I’m glad to say, that I succeeded. My word count for the month, not including blog posts and other assorted copy, was just over 34,000 words. That’s more than twice my NaNoWriMo word count, with much less stress. That’s divided up across 29 flash stories, two chapters for co-author stories with my writer’s group, and one chapter for a book I accidentally started. (Literally, on January 1st the first thing I wrote when I meant to write a flash fiction story felt more like a short chapter one… oops?) Those 29 stories include three shared universes – two from one, three from another, and eleven from the third – and a bunch of standalone weirdness.
With January officially over, I’m now looking at making February all about something else. Part of me wants to force myself to draw something every day. I’m not an artist, but I’m quickly falling in love with creating comics. My understanding of the craft is that it makes a lot more sense to at least be able to draw them poorly if you want to show that you can write them, so that’s what I’ll be doing.
I’m also starting a comic course later this month, so all of this makes a tremendous amount of sense to me. I may have no idea what to draw, but I’ll give it a shot, nonetheless.
I could write a whole blog post about what I learned from writing flash stories every day (that weren’t always flash stories, as I typically aim for under the 1000 word mark), but I think the main takeaway from doing anything regularly is this: you figure it out the more you work on it. I’m planning to keep on writing every day. I’ll likely switch it up a bit more, now, to include comic scripts (I wrote two of those in January, too!) and longer prose. And that’s the point of writing every day – to make it easier to keep it up. It became fun for me, again, to get to write something new every day.
I’m not necessarily recommending that everyone do what I did, but it does help to create something new regularly. Even while I’m working on longer books, I’ll still take breaks in the future to write something else that’s shorter, to keep up the buzz of having completed a project while I’m trying to build a story. (It’s sort of like walking around a mountain until you find an easier path to climb. There’s definitely an analogy in this somewhere.)
So, let’s get started. Let’s figure something out with this drawing craic. And, maybe, I’ll start showing some of it online.
In the meantime, you can catch me at The Geek Mart this weekend – Saturday 4th, 10-6 in the Central Hotel. All the details you need for the market can be found on its new website. That was fun to put together, and will feature fresh content every week. (He says, crossing his fingers.)