Monday, April 5, 2010

WEDA? (Write Every Day in April)

As I type this,* I'm wearing a tank top and denim shorts that are borderline indecent. ** Spring is wonderful.

Originally, I was going to partake in the script writing frenzy of April. Upon further thought, I discovered that I actually have a limited desire to write a script. This stems from many places: my distaste for the scripts we write and then act out in French class; the fact that writing a script just seems so limiting unless you are writing for a specific purpose (you want to make a movie, you like writing scripts, you want to practice condensing your words); my aversion to, you know, thinking of plots and then expanding on them...

While writing that last sentence, I realized that it probably would be a good idea for me to write a script because I do need practice in many of those areas (writing dialogue, not rambling on forever and ever and ever, thinking of a freaking plot…). However! Unfortunately for anyone who cares, I have already concocted a far more agreeable plan that I’m quite excited about, so I’m going to go with that.

I’m going to write thirty essays in April, each composed of approximately one thousand words, totaling thirty thousand words altogether. By essays, I mean anecdotes or short stories, not structured “and now let’s analyze THIS book, kids!” pieces of writing.

I don’t know how this plan sounds to other people. Does it seem like a copout? Pointless? Stupid? Maybe it is! I have no idea! But I think it will be good for me. Like I said, I tend to stretch what should be fifty words into two thousand words (okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration. Really though) and this will force me to cut myself off. I frequently describe scenes in my head as they’re happening, like a narration in a book or a voiceover in a movie. Why not expand on that? Mostly, though, I want to practice writing – not the endurance factor or how well I can write an entire book – so that I can genuinely improve, and even better, be more prepared for the next NaNoWriMo. And I might as well do this during a month when other people are doing a similar thing; the content may be a little different, but the whole feeling of striving to accomplish something is the same. I feel like this is something I should be doing every day, or nearly that much, anyway, so it'll be a good way to (hopefully) establish that habit.

Plus writing is hard, man. Authors don't get enough credit. It's difficult to string together sentences that don't sound fake and vapid and hopelessly contrived. I can only imagine the difficulties of being a poet:


I think I have a long, long career ahead of me in the poetry-writing business. ***

Anyhoo, I've come to realize the importance of practicing. To use the cliched playing-an-instrument comparison (my apologies; it's truly overused, isn't it?): I play guitar, for those who don't know. Right now, I'm focusing on classical guitar with fingerpicking, but I'm also learning how to play "I Want to Hold Your Hand" by The Beatles, and while I was practicing that, I neglected practicing fingerpicking exercises. They're really not difficult exercises, but after not doing them for a week, my fingers kept slipping and I couldn't do them as well as before. REVELATION is that writing is a similar gig; you think the basics are easy enough, but when you don't practice them, you get sloppy. I need to practice, so that's what I'm going to do.

I didn't need a badly worded and runon-y simile to explain all that. Hello, I'm Vita, I'm addicted to rambling.

My other long-term goal is to learn how and when to use commas. I treat them like sprinkles: to be used liberally and for little more than decoration. I swear, my spelling and grammar have being going downhill ever since I started using computers more frequently. Spellcheck kills your English speaking brain cells****, sort of like how calculators completely destroy your ability to add numbers. (On Friday, I was playing Life with a twelve year old and I had to ask her what 900,000 plus 100,000 was. Frigging zeroes making adding so confusing...)

* Slight lie; I wrote most of this two days ago. Details details...
** Luckily, I am not a whore, so I do not wear them outside the house. Still! LIBERATION!
*** In case this doesn't translate in text, I'm joking. I am awful at understanding poetry, let alone writing it.
**** As opposed to the other language speaking brain cells. lolwut

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