Perhaps it’s because my new life has become routine, but my second hundred days went so much faster than the first. I have been working now for three months and some of my responsibilities include writing. It has challenged me and I have learned much:
- I must keep writing. Any advice on how to be a better writer urges daily practice. I think of writing every day, but I don’t do it. I used to scribble in a notebook in the early morning hours, but that no longer works for me. I need to type, reorganize, and reshuffle. In order to write everyday I will have to put less pressure on myself to publish the work the day it’s written, or to make it relevant to the numbered day on which it’s published – and to forgive myself for not having a relevant photo.
- Read more of the good stuff. This also one that is always included, and I am including it too, simply because it’s true. I should have a list of great fiction that I can pull from. I need to read those copies of the New Yorker on my coffee table. And for the love of God, I need to read less Facebook status updates.
- Shorter is better. Sure, 500+ words may be great for short personal stories with drama or comedy, but it is far too long for most stuff on the internet. When I go back and read early NPface or the first post for In Parallel, I find myself skimming and scrolling instead of reading. Editing is hard work, and that is why the good writers get paid.
- When you get paid to write, it becomes harder to write for yourself. I am now more critical of what I am writing as I write it – always questioning it’s value. Also, when you work a flexible schedule, it’s a challenge to carve out time to write just for the fun of it. My friend Adam Goldberg (who now writes for TV and movies) once told me, “be careful doing what you love for money, you may begin to hate it.”
- Dogs may be great around the office, but Cats are not. I don’t have an office. I have a desk in my living room. My best work lately has been crafted at coffee shops around town. Somehow, the general public talking and drinking coffee are less distracting than a couple of old felines. As I write this, they are curled up in cute little bundles on the couch instead of getting underfoot, stalking me around the house, or nuzzling my elbow as I try and write. I think they know I am writing this and want to prove me wrong.
Here’s to the next hundred days – and less than 500 words!