Week 1 Post 2: Add it all up

The first of several “Mondays with Bob”
By guest blogger Bob Sabatini

In some ways, I’ve got an ideal writer’s job. Without going into too much detail, I work from home for a call center that doesn’t get very many calls. I’ve come to the realization that I’m not getting paid so much for the work I do as I am for agreeing to tie myself to a phone eight hours a day and watch the nicest February/March weather I can remember out my window. As someone who likes to be kept busy, it became clear that I had two options. I could sit there and bemoan the fact that I was inside doing nothing, or I could find something to occupy my time. Naturally, the bulk of that time is spent writing.

The goal I set for this Writer’s March was to fill out a 100-sheet comp book from cover to cover in the month. After two days of sitting next to the phone and answering it when it deigned to ring, I can see that I might need to expand my goal. I noticed even with frequent distractions and interruptions, I’d average about 1 page an hour, and when things got really slow and I found myself in a groove, I could get closer to three or four pages in an hour. At the pace I’ve set, I could very easily get through the 200 pages well before the 20th.

“Well,” you may be saying, “that’s all very nice for you, but what about those of us who have to do work?” Or school? Or parenting? Or—in some cases—work and school and parenting? No matter how modest or grandiose your goals, you should take some time to celebrate your accomplishments. One thing I told fellow wrimos over and over again during the course of the madness that is NaNoWriMo is that no matter what, whether they were working on a single novel or if they were using the month to sketch out many different projects, they should keep everything together in one document. It was extremely gratifying on November 17th to open up my NaNoWriMo Word file and scroll down to page 100 to pick up my writing for the new day.

And I’m suggesting something similar for the March: take a moment to put together everything you’ve written. If you have the time to fill out a 200 page comp book in the month, feel the heft and the thickness of it and revel in the fact that it was blank at the start of the month. Of course some of it will be crap, of course it’ll “need a lot of work,” but we’re writers: cleaning up crap is part of our work. And unlike waiting for a phone to ring, writing is work. Even if you’ve only got the time for a page a day, that’s still 31 pages. It’s a healthy chunk of a tree, it’ll need quite a bit of extra postage to mail. Enjoy that feeling. Heck, if you’re so inclined, mail it to yourself so you can see that great big envelope with all those stamps arrive and know it was something you accomplished.

3 thoughts on “Week 1 Post 2: Add it all up

  1. Bob – funny you should mention the mailing thing. The other day, I was in a bookstore and I saw a “Wreck This Journal” journal (http://www.amazon.com/Wreck-This-Journal-Black-Expanded/dp/0399161945f) – the basic premise ist hat every page has you do something else semi destructive (everything from sewing the pages to ripping one out and putting it in the washer and then putting it back again to standing on the journal or throwing it down stairs, etc.) I was with my cousin (a nonwriter), and she didn’t really get why I was so excited about it. If it wasn’t for her, I would have bought it. “Only a writer understands why you’d want to wreck a journal,” I told her. Anyway, the final step (and the final point I’m making here) is that at the end, you can then seal up the ends and mail the journal to yourself, which I thought was a pretty damn good idea…

    Thanks for the post!
    Sam

  2. Bob, great post!. I think we tend to view of writing as producing something that is abstract, but it also good to remember that we’re creating something in the physical world.

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