KingMidget's Ramblings

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Does Any Writing Count?

Over at The Remainder Table, Theryn responded to a comment I made about what writing counts towards my daily goal.

What started this was New Year’s post, in which she set a goal of writing 500 words six days a week.  More accurately, the goal is trying to write 500 words six days a week.  I wished her luck, knowing how hard a daily goal like that is.  Her response was that any writing counted.  I replied that my writing goals surround fiction.  That I don’t count blogging as writing.  So, today, in the linked post above, Theryn responded more fully.  Any writing counts because it’s about the practice.  It’s about creating the practice of writing.  As she says,

The most important take-away for me from that book (Writing Down the Bones) was the idea of writing as a practice, a process, a way of life—rather than just a means to an end.

That’s where I struggle … and maybe it’s a part of where I need to head this year.  I struggle with the idea of there being things that are not a means to an end.  You know, I’m the one who lives for tomorrow rather than enjoying today.  I’m the one who is constantly racing to the next stop rather than stopping and smelling the flowers.  I feel like I’ve spent my whole life racing toward “an end.”  Part of what I aspire to in 2013 is to slow down, accept more of what is, and stop worrying so much about how what I do today may impact tomorrow or next year.

You see, writing for me is a means to an end.  My fiction that is.  Although, I enjoy writing for its own sake.  It’s also something I hope to make a living at some day.  Or, if not a living, to provide some supplemental income to make life easier as I begin to wind down in a few years.  Yes, I know, there are very few writers who are able to achieve that goal.  That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try, however.

In all my years of searching for something to motivate me and hold my interest, writing has lasted the longest.  It fulfills something inside of me (I haven’t yet figured out what that thing is), while also providing a … yes, Theryn, a possible means to an end.  Doing something I enjoy immensely that might (a slim might) help me meet my future financial needs.

I get the idea that making writing a practice, a part of me, a part of my daily, or weekly, routine is important.  Blogging certainly has filled that role for me the past year.  I’ve written more words on this blog, on a range of subjects, in the last twelve months than I thought possible.  But, what’s the end to it.  What’s the point.  It creates a living record of where I’ve been, where I’m at, and where I want to go.  But, unless I become the next Andrew Sullivan, it leaves me no closer to some very important goals.

I suppose that if I didn’t have my day job, this wouldn’t be so bothersome to me.  The reality is that as long as so many hours of my day are taken up with that non-writing job, I don’t have the opportunity to live a writing life.  Unfortunately, with that day job, I have such a limited time to practice the art of writing, I do find blogging to be a distraction from the writing that matters the most in the long run.  I’ve always been a believer in the long run, rather than in short-term happiness.  Maybe that’s wrong, but it’s where I’ve been and … where I’m struggling to escape.

What do you think?  Does any writing count?

I just wrote 600 words on this post today.  I guess I’ve hit my daily target.  🙂

Theryn:  Your serve.

11 responses to “Does Any Writing Count?

  1. oliviaobryon January 4, 2013 at 1:42 am

    I guess it just depends on how blogging pays you. For me, blogging pays in giving me a space to digest my thoughts and connect with other like-minded people who inspire me. If I did not blog, I would not connect this way, which would hinder my other writing. When I look back at some of my blog posts from a year ago, I cringe. I have grown so much in my writing through blogging, (and I’m sure I will continue to do so even a year from now and so on).

    However, that all said, blogging can be a major distraction from the other work to be done. The instant gratification can be addictive. I write my novel for an audience that does not exist yet. People read my blog just moments after I hit publish. This validation can cause a shift in priorities that is not conducive to finishing a book…

    So, just like everything else, and as frustrating as it may be to accept, I think it’s about balance. Blog words count, but not if they keep you from finishing other projects. 🙂

  2. Carrie Rubin January 4, 2013 at 2:13 am

    I don’t count my blog writing as part of my writing ‘goals.’ That’s one of the reasons I only post once or twice a week. To do more would take away from my creative writing time. I don’t set word count limits per day, rather I try to map out where I should be by certain dates on the calendar and stick to that. I’m like you–always living for the future. I read “The Power of Now” to see if that would help. Nope. It didn’t. Is hard for me to be in the present. Guess I better work on that…

  3. Theryn January 4, 2013 at 2:24 am

    I didn’t say you shouldn’t have a goal; I said you need to practice if you want to reach that goal.

    I’m wondering if this comes back to the fact that I think stories need to have a point. Those are the kinds of ideas you work out in blog-like bits of writing. If you look at working fiction writers, most of them write things besides fiction—essays, articles, editorials. Short nonfiction. Similar to blog posts. Some of them even have blogs themselves. In the past, lots of writers were prolific letter writers. Maybe some still are.

    If someone claims to be a writer but never does any writing except work on a novel with the goal of fame/fortune I think they’re probably less someone who wants to write and more someone who wants to be an author (see this post).

    And now we are back at the DAN BROWN thread. 😉

    Congrats on the 600 words.

    • kingmidget January 4, 2013 at 3:00 pm

      I agree with the idea of creating the practice of writing. I just don’t see a connection between my blogging and my fiction writing. They are two different kinds of writing. If any writing counts, then I could count the hundreds of words in emails I write every day when I’m at work.

      • Theryn January 4, 2013 at 5:12 pm

        Now you’re just being silly.

        I can’t tell if you’re deliberately being obtuse or you genuinely don’t see the connection between your blogging and your fiction. If it’s the latter: go back and re-read your blog. There is a connection; your readers can see it, even if you can’t.

        Anyway. Count what you like.

      • Theryn January 4, 2013 at 5:14 pm

        P.S. You really need to fix the time on your blog. It’s always The Future here.

    • kingmidget January 4, 2013 at 11:08 pm

      Eureka! You’ve convinced me! See my new post. As for the time … well, doesn’t that fit my whole personality? Fine, changing the time.

  4. kristentarzwell January 4, 2013 at 6:57 am

    I think that it totally counts towards your goal! All writing is a way of expressing yourself and allowing you to get in touch with the creative side of yourself!
    Honestly the fact that you can write any kind of story at all is impressive because i haven’t been able to write a lick of fiction in years and I used to pump out all kinds of ‘books’ and ‘short stories’ when I was younger that i used to pass around to my friends. now.. I write like paragraphs and blog occasionally as well as journal…journaling i heard is a good way to learn to say what you mean.
    I think you’re doing a fantastic job on your blog at any rate! everything you write is very interesting and well written! 🙂

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