Day 77: Lessons after 77 days.

For the past three days I've been assembling a "lessons learned after 75 days" post in the spirit of the post I wrote 8 days in.

Part of me thinks, "Aw, how cute, eight-days-in me!" And part of me knows I was learning a ton of really concrete lessons that early on.

Now the lessons are murky, infrequent, and unsatisfying. Early on I learned a new strategy almost every day: Write about nothing and something will bloom. Write about something you can't wait to talk about. Write early, revise late. Write lots and post over several days. Post shorter. Post more quickly. Now I'm grinding, same thing every day, same result. I have some faith that I will get to a new, better stage, but that time feels far off and vague.

BREAKS/RHYTHM
I need breaks. I decided in June to write every day, whether or not I published. Before that I pushed for daily publication but not daily writing, though I wrote most days. I wrote every day in June; I feel burnt out now. I'm proud of the streak but I'm wondering if perhaps those days off are a key part of the system.

When this is done, I will chart the days I published and the days I did not, and maybe I will chart the days I wrote, the days I wrote less than 750 words, and the days I didn't write (though my records will be inexact). I'm guessing I typically have a couple days on, one day off kind of flow.

NIGHT SWIMMING
Time to embrace my owlishness or change it. Staying up late while feeling bad about it is for suckers.

This came up on Day 8 as well. I write late at night. I just do. Last week I set a bedtime of midnight for myself and I stuck to it. Last week's writing felt kinda janky and uninspired. This week I will try to write earlier. Writing takes as long as I'll let it so to write in the morning means I maybe don't get to my paying work as soon as I'd like. Still, I can make it work. Right? Right? The late night bird gets the mouse. I'm pretty sure that's the saying.

REJECTION
This article about trying to get 100 rejections in a year resonated with me. It made me want to start submitting somewhere. Everywhere. Anywhere. The year is half over, but I could collect 50!

But this project is anti-rejection; it's about saying something is worthwhile on my own terms. It builds some of the same callouses that submission/rejection can, but it's inherently about disregarding gatekeepers.

GETTING BETTER
I want to revise. I want to get better.

This project has taught me about getting around the anxiety of sharing, about producing huge amounts, but it hasn't taught me much about the craft of writing.

(Let's be real, though: "learning about my craft" is an itch that can't be scratched.)

Still, I want time to percolate. I don't love today's writing but I do love that I had a few days to think on it.

VARIETY
I'm too shy to share first drafts of fiction and mostly too shy to share first drafts of poetry. Fiction really is a godawful mess when it first comes out. This self-reflective bloggy format? That I can get done in a day. Probably this skill arose from extreme procrastination around writing papers. Probably if I had been asked to write fiction in middle school and beyond, I'd have gotten good at editing out the dull bits and crossing my fingers. But I did not do that, so I'm terrible.

I don't have time to agonize my way through a couple short story scenes AND put together one of these entries. I am not sure I have the momentum around fiction to keep up on a project without these daily publishing goals. And thus the snake eats its tail and we all go home hungry.

SECRETS
There are a few things I am writing quite a bit about but not publishing (ooooh publishing-writing-about-writing-you're-not-publishing!) Holding back is leaving the rest of what I write limp and soggy. Still, I'm not ready to share. Until I am, or until I resolve my questions to my own satisfaction, am I doomed to muddle through on milquetoast topics?

NEVER EDIT IN BROWSER
Even if you think you're done with a piece, don't edit in the browser. You WILL lose your work and it WILL make you want to die.

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Overall I'm trying to be aware of that fake-ass green grass over there while not being tempted. In Los Angeles greener grass is usually made of plastic, so.

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