June 28, 2010

SSFD ~ Week 4

It’s the fourth week of the Summer of Shitty First Drafts (SSFD), and this week I failed the challenge. All I can say is that I had 1) an old sinus infection, 2) a new killer cold, and 3) food poisoning, all in the same week. I’m just now feeling human again. But, dang it! I wish I didn’t have to make excuses.

I did begin a new story. It’s called “Pearl and Ty” and it’s about a young rural Wyoming couple with four daughters. She’s a stay-at-home mom and he’s a carpenter. I wanted to explore someone who’s identity is very much tied to being a mother but also someone who is young and still a little selfish. Maybe Pearl will think she’s pregnant again but then it turns out to be cancer. Or maybe she’ll lose a child. Or maybe she’ll go through some things and nothing will change. The first line is “Pearl and Ty Banks lived with their four daughters—Penny, Paige, Piper, and Peri, called Flower—in a rented two-bedroom trailer house twelve miles out of town off of Highway 27A.”

But I wanted to talk a little about what I’m learning about myself and my writing through this experiment. First of all, I think it’s a valuable thing. Any way that you can challenge yourself, stretch your boundaries, is good. I don’t like failing, but failure is also a good thing. We learn so much more from failure than success, usually. It makes us try harder (or give up) and makes what we produce that much better. Second, it makes me re-commit myself to the project. Dang it! I can do this.

On one hand, I think: What kind of idiot cannot write three measly pages in a week? On the other hand, it reminds me of all the commitments I do have and that the creative process is not all in the writing. There’s a lot of rumination time. I write best when I can throw myself into something. Often, for a short story, I’ll write and ponder a little for a day or two, and then I’ll steal a half day or a day away from the world to focus almost exclusively on the story. But I can’t steal a day a week for that. I try to write an hour a day every day, but I have a hard time doing that. The world gets in the way. And, I suppose I let the world get in the way. I need to think more about all this.

In the meantime, nose the grindstone, I recommit myself to the challenge. Maybe a fun story this week. A fairy tale or a kids’ story.

What I’m Reading Today: I haven’t been reading anything, mostly sleeping, but I have been browsing a little more Calvin and Hobbes.

No comments: