Thursday, March 24, 2005

Word Count: Like I've been talking about in my other blog, I've been trying to write 1,000 words a day.

Lots of writers advice this, but the best book I've ever read on writing is still Ray Bradbury's Zen In The Art Of Writing.

I've probably told this story a million times, but I'm going to tell it again.

I met Bradbury about 5 years ago, shortly after Marci and I were married. He was signing at a delightful bookstore in San Dimas. He was being his usual self, providing plenty of opinion and personality to everybody in line. It was interesting, because we usually couldn't hear the people who were talking to him, but we could always hear his responses.

"Crap!" he shouted at one point. "That's all the internet is, really, is crap."

If the most eloquent writer I know chose that terminology, I think there's something in it. My wife put that on a sign and hung it over my computer for a while after that.

So we got up to him, and I pulled out my little paperback copy of Zen In The Art Of Writing.

"I love this book," I told him. "This is what I take for depression."

"That's wonderful!" he said. And then, "So do you write every day?"

I hemmed and hawwed.

"Well, I'm sure you're busy," he said. "Work, school, other things." His enthusiasm faded as he made my excuses so I wouldn't have to.

I wanted to tell him, no! Don't make excuses for me! Chastise me publicly, right here in the front of the line at Mrs. Nelson's Bookshop!

But he didn't. He went on to say clever things to the person behind me, and I went away knowing he thought I was just another dreamer pretending to be a writer.

For two days now, I've put 1,000 words on paper each day. Tomorrow, can I make it three? And the day after that? And after that?

I can't convey how much I want the answer to be yes. I have something to prove. To myself, to my wife and my family, but also to the most eloquent writer I know, the one who put my excuses in my mouth for me, and in so doing, chewed me out royally.

1 comment:

Scott H. said...

good story, how have you been maintaining your 1,000 words a day?