I wasn’t thinking about learning things, or thinking of anything in particular, really, when I started the 100 stories in 100 days self-imposed challenge. All I knew was it sounded tough, and if I would not have done it, I would have regretted it. Maybe not that day, maybe not that week, but soon, and maybe for the rest of my life.
Or maybe not.
And then, about halfway through my challenge, a friend/fellow writer, Judy McLain, mentioned that she is looking forward to reading what I gleaned from doing this challenge and, (hopefully inadvertently) shattered my calm. I’m sure she didn’t mean to do it. I’m sure her intentions were good and pure. But the outcome was one swift and brutal panic attack followed by a slack-jawed realization that up to that point, I had learned nothing.
No worries, I’ve decided. I’ll make something up. OK, so like my (unofficial) rabbi, Leonard Cohen, once sang, “I’ve got a little secret/If you promise not to tell…” I started out with this major thought in mind — I had no plan B. Once I started, I knew I would finish.
I will forget how to stop — how to give up. I will take it one day at a time.
Sometimes, I wrote two stories in one day, and was, therefore, ahead of the game. Sometimes, I sucked it up, like an adult I was, and only whined about not having any ideas for short periods of time, here and there.
“I don’t know what to write about!” I complained to my husband as I sat there, surrounded by many, many, many story-generating idea books and on-line resources and writers’ magazines. Have I mentioned that I have writer-prompt books out the wazoo?
Jeff would give me a side look reserved for the simple and the challenged. “Just start writing something. Anything,” he encouraged, unhelpfully.
And I would begin typing. Like magic, Heaven’s gates would open up, and my hands, blessed by the Blarney Stone I touched and kissed in 1997, would create wonderous enchanted worlds and perfect characters! No !!! That last sentence is made up (other than, yes, I actually did inappropriately behave with the Blarney Stone in 1997 — kidding! It was a very brief and chaste peck upon the stone, because I had heard the locals pissed on the stone as a laugh). What is true, is that I would begin typing, and start…