Saturday, February 03, 2007

Sweet Victory, Thou Art Mine!

They said it couldn't be done. Ok, technically, it was not so much them as me. I can be a bit of a critical, undercutting bitch, when it comes to my own endeavors. Funny how we sometimes treat ourselves far worse than we would expect from any outsider. But today is not a day for undercutting. It is a day for celebration!

A month has passed. Twenty-seven posts and a bit of non-posted material that ended up rambling itself into the arena of too personal for public consumption later, the Blogstravaganza experiment is over. As you may recall, the test was to post 31 unedited posts for 31 days, but the real point of it all was really to get in the habit of writing something (anything) every day. While I missed a few days of posting, I did end up writing every day, so I deem the experiment an unqualified success. I get to do that, because it's my experiment, I am Queen of Blogstravaganza. What I say goes, and what I say is: Go me!

Test results: Aside from having found that royalty fits me like a well tailored glove, I have also found that I am freaking awesome! Note that. Not just awesome, but freaking awesome; steeped in awesome sauce; a fiery ball of awesomenity; a shining blade of awe inspiring awesomeness, and I will cut you like a mofo!

And what is it that makes me such a paragon of awesomeness? Simply that I tried. There were times, when I had to turn off the t.v. or put down the book I was reading and drag my considerable ass off the couch or out of bed in order to write, but I did it. Every day. Not everything I wrote (or even posted) was technically what could be called good. Some of it was a rambly, incohesive train wreck, but there were some things that I wrote and ended up thinking "Huh. This isn't half bad. " You have to understand, this is high and enthusiastic praise indeed when coming from me about me.

The funny thing is that some of the things I ended up liking best were written on days when I was really feeling like I had nothing to say. Of course, reading back, there were some nights when I obviously did have nothing to say. There were, however, others when I started writing something half-assed for the blog that ended up evolving into thoughts with an actual point. Those thoughts then sometimes grew into pieces with potential.

The lesson here? Not everything you write, sing, make, create is going to be perfect or even good, but it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. Sometimes you're going to write complete and utter shit, but you have to grab your best pair of hip boots and wade through it to get to the good stuff. If you keep at it long enough, somewhere between the imperfections, you will find sparks of ideas, phrases, whole pieces that fall together and are workable. Then, before you know it, you'll be sitting at your desk, typing a way, cackling at the cleverness of your own jokes.

That was probably the biggest lesson of the month. Of course, any writer or writing book will tell you this. It's the whole point of Julia Cameron's morning pages in The Artist's Way. Marc Acito (who is, by the way, very gracious and funny) echoed this in a short e-mail exchange after I contacted him to get a signed book plate for a friend's birthday a year or two ago. Any number of interviews with writers talking about their processes will tell you the same thing. The thing is that I am one of those people who sometimes needs to be hit over the head with a brick to get the idea. As we all have experienced at one time or another, it is one thing to hear something from Marc Acito and quite another to experience it for ourselves.

The truth is that I learned quite a few things from my little experiment:

1-It is quite possible that I don't suck like an industrial grade hoover. In case you have any doubts about yourself, you probably don't either.

2-It is much easier to accomplish something when you give yourself a clear time frame. My mantra when I wanted to chuck the whole thing: "It's only 31 days. I can do anything for 31 days."

3-What I like is not necessarily what other people like. Sometimes they will like something I wrote, even when I have in my great wisdom deemed it "stupid". It's almost like people have personal preferences and minds of their own or something. So weird.

4- Putting your plans out into the universe can keep you at least semi-honest. It also compells some people to point it out whenever you stumble, but you just smile, say thank you, and try move on without falling on your face. Luckily, most people are at least kind about it, and good natured nagging can also be helpful.

5- I am amazed at how much I can say, even on days when I think I have nothing to say.

6- The project was actually not as difficult as I thought. (I am actually toying with extending it, since they always say that it takes 3 months to truly develop a habit).

7- It is liberating to commit to putting one's thoughts out there with no major editing, rewriting, etc. It takes the pressure off.

8- (I know I've already said this, but it bears repeating) The goal is not to be perfect, it is simply to try.

So, there you have it. My assistant Beaker and I thank you for reading to the end our study. I am off to reward myself with a nice slice of peach pie, and think about whether I will continue on into February or perhaps even March (now that would be challenging!) or retreat back into posting only when I feel like it. Either way, I'm sure I'll be back soon.

HRH Martina of Powellhurst


Chris said...

Without question a cause for celebration, yay Your Highness and all, but on behalf of the Bristol chapter of your English readership I can't help regretting that the breakfast blogstravaganza treat may now be passed. Martina and porridge does it for me. But ho, and indeed hum, it was great while it lasted.

Jen said...

Hooray for Blogstravaganza! I enjoyed reading it very much and I think you probably should continue through forever. Or you know, March. (think of the HABIT FORMING!!

Jen said...

d'oh!! here's the closing parenthesis that I missed above: )

Martina said...

Thanks, both of you. It's been a good experience, so I'm thinking I'll continue for a bit (though I may change my completely arbitrary rules that can be amended at any time, because that's just how the nobility rolls...)