I have no idea if anyone really likes what I’m writing. I hope they do. I also hope that they can put up with the consequences that come with this challenge that I’ve set for myself: I want to see how long I can put up one thing every day.
It’s not easy, obviously, and I know that some of the things that I put up will be unspeakably lame. This is the price you pay for putting up a lot of writing…some of it will stink.
Yet if I keep up with this challenge, I know that some of the writing that I put up here will…not stink, I hope. Some of it may, in fact, be quite good.
Stephen King has a healthy bit of advice for writers: if you work out, you’ll build muscles, and if you keep writing, you’ll become a good writer.
To be sure, King is quick to point out, in “On Writing,” that you may not become a great writer. He divides writers into four groups:
--Those who just can’t write and unfortunately never will (I’ve read the writing of one of these folks, unfortunately);
--Those who can write something good but don’t exercise (as in: write) enough to write something good;
--those who can write something good and exercise (as in, again: write) enough to write something good; and, finally...
--those blessed few who just see things we don’t, the James David Foster Wallaces who make the rest of us feel a little bit less than who we are.
I am not, nor will ever be, David Foster Wallace. At the same time though, and I honestly hope I don’t sound like I’m bragging, I know that my writing, on good days, is good. It is better when I write more, and therefore, it is necessary to write more.
As I wrote in an earlier entry, I write for those half dozen friends I have who I know actually read this. These friends actually seem to turn to their computers or cell phones in the morning and think to themselves, as they check their email and Facebook feeds, “what did Derek write this morning?”
I am deeply grateful to these people for caring.
And for those people, if for no one else, I write essay after essay, story after story, song lyric after song lyric, because I know that they read, and I know that if I keep holding to this quota of putting one thing out a day, my passable writing may, just possibly, become consistently good writing.
So I set these high quotas: one thing a day, somewhere between 500 and 1000 words, with the understanding that every so often, I will break 1,000, but not by that much. After all, according to Google Analytics, if such things are to be believed, 75 percent of my readers look at my words on their cell phones, and anything over 1,000 words is often quite a lot to ask from a cell phone reader, even if they are the sort who read novels on their cell phone.
I read “A Game of Thrones” on my cell phone, by the way. Just putting that out there.
So here it is, somewhere between 500 and 1000 words. There will be more. I hope it doesn’t stink.
Thank you. Thank you very much.