It was an etraordinarily slow day at work, after our crazy day yesterday. Maybe everybody got whatever they needed to get done on Friday, and left us with nothing.
For kicks, I uploaded the text from all the pages from here since January 1st (42 days' worth), and the above is the word count.
68,505 words. That's quite a lot for just a little less than a month and a half. I could have completed NaNoWriMo with that type of output, had I been writing a novel during all this time.
Mind you, the journal is mostly a brain-dump for me at the end of each night, so I probably wouldn't have an especially good novel at the end of that period of time; but I would have something down on paper. Something I could work with, edit into a presentable piece and possibly submit or put in a drawer to inspire me to write the next thing.
To put it in even sharper perspective, here's the word count from my full-length (90-minute) play, Parthenogenesis:
(Don't be fooled by the page count. I had to download a pdf file into Word to get a word count, which caused a lot of blank pages to show up. I'm sure there's a function in Acrobat that does a quick word count, but I wasn't in the mood to find it.)
16,833 words. If I went by word count alone, I would have completed four full-length draft scripts in a month and a half.
Of course, fiction writing and playwriting aren't the same things as journal writing. I'm largely unedited here. I can jump from subject to subject, and I don't need any underlying theme. I consider playwriting closer to writing poetry than prose; since you have so few words to work with, each one has to have significance. Still, a badly-written first draft is better than nothing on paper (or on-screen, as the case is nowadays).
Fiction and plays also require a great deal more concentration than what I spit out here on a daily basis. My entries are written in-between chats with Becky, Saundra, Laurie and Stephanie. I surf the web while I write these things. Lately, I've been keeping the TV on one of the music channels, but ocassionally I'll tune into something on MTV or watch Fear Factor or some other bad reality show.
It's also pretty late at night when I write here, which doesn't lead to the most elegant prose. I'm too wordy, I change tenses within paragraphs occasionally, my punctuation isn't all that great. This doesn't feel like Writing with a capital "W", it's more an exercise, a letter to a bunch of friends who drop in to see how I'm doing.
But it has taught me that I have the discipline to write a lot more of the things I'm trying to get out into the world. If I can write this much in such a short period of time while distracted, tired, and just in the mood to get something off my chest, I can certainly put together a decent play in a couple of months.
Journalling about journalling is always dull, but sometimes I have to remind myself why I do it, and a large component of this version of the journal is to get myself back into the habit of writing on a daily basis. I won't sacrifice this writing for other writing, but I have plenty of time on my days off and after work hours to get my "artistic" writing done. I know the routine: The comfy chair works for me. 80s techno-pop is enough to keep the room from being too silent, but isn't so distracting that I can't concentrate on the words.
In a way, it's like "Morning Pages" from The Artist's Way in reverse. I'm doing "evening pages" right now, which have led me to think about more creative endeavors.
Because it was so slow today, and all the work-related projects I have on my plate are in a state of limbo (the website is awaiting a meeting with Mark P., who wants to construct the front page entirely in Flash; the image database needs to be uploaded to the server by an IT guy who has been out for awhile; I can't make any calls to agencies or do any interviewing of candidates during the weekend), so I concentrated on some personal projects I have going.
The picture above is of the workspace I used to cut out some business-card sized pieces I designed today, as well as another component of the collaborative web art project I'm working on. (I'm really not being secretive just to be secretive here, I just want everything to be up and running before I announce to the world what I'm doing.) I'm pretty pleased with the design of both. It took awhile for me to come up with each design, and decide on what medium would work best for each component. The reason I had all those pictures up on my site yesterday is because I was using the camera to take a few pictures I'll be using on the new art site.
I showed Laurie, Tamra, and Stephanie what I was working on (because I really couldn't do this without them asking about it). They all seemed to like the concept. I hope a lot of other people do, too.
Last picture, I promise! This is the result of my labors today. It doesn't look like much, but there are 100 hand-cut announcement cards that I designed, 100 hand-cut "art mountings" (for lack of a better term) that I designed and for which I came up with a great solution to a nagging problem. The box may or may not become part of the overall project. I'll be running this at a financial loss, and the boxes are kind of pricey, so I may not use them.
The paper is actually a proof of the text for the handmade books I'm planning on creating for my stories Elephant, Generics and possibly Balloon Girl (though that may be a Japanese accordion-book, since the story is so short). I don't have the practice in Pagemaker to do this quickly anymore, so I put it all together in PowerPoint, figuring out the layout through trial-and-error. Besides, dropping images into PowerPoint is easier for me than dealing with Pagemaker, since I use PowerPoint all day long in my job.
This "weekend," I'm going to have to get out that book on binding I bought and figure out how to get these things bound. Like I said, I used to do it, but it involves a lot of precise measuring, and I've forgotten the ratios. Also, the books in the manual I bought are much more "professional" looking than the ones I used to make. It's a subtle difference, but I feel like I'm going to like these much better than the ones I produced when I was working at the Society for Arts and Crafts.
Hopefully, by the time the Consulting Company Art Fair comes around, I'll have about five to ten sets of each book (five sounds best...fifteen books is much more manageable than thirty, at this point in my life), as well as examples of the collaborative, web-based art project to show. I'm going to ask for a laptop to set up with the website that I'm creating for that project, as it's an essential part of the whole process.
In addition to those two projects, I have another website that I'm working on, which is going to be something professional, a foray I haven't ventured into in all my days online. I'm also designing my brother Chris' company website.
I have a story to finish (assuming the reader I sent it to for an initial reaction doesn't think it sucks wind) in a short amount of time. I have to submit Unspoken Arrangements to a couple of one-act play contests. I have three 10-minute play ideas that I want to work on before the call for submissions to the Hovey Summer Shorts and the Boston Theater Marathon come around. I have the newest Writer's Market sitting right next to me, and there are a number of my old "Stoplight Stories" that I can adapt into something submittable. Parthenogenesis needs a complete overhaul of Act II, so that I can put together a staged reading or a mini-production of it before the end of this year. And then there are the full-length plays I have neglected. Tangerine Room's premise was already turned into a movie called Identity. I found an "idea card" in my storage unit that's pretty much an exact match to the premise for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. If I don't get these ideas out first, someone is going to beat me to the punch, and I'm going to be left wondering why I didn't just get off my ass (or on my ass, more specifically) and write the damned thing, already.
I spoke a lot about re-learning how to relax yesterday, but truly, I'm happiest when I'm busy, especially when I'm busy with things I like to do. I do intend on finishing Eats, Shoots and Leaves very soon (I read half of it before work today...it's a fast read, and hilarious to those of us who deal with bad punctuation all day long, some of which is probably evident in every journal entry I write). I plan on spending an entire afternoon with nothing on my plate but the complete Season One of The O.C.. I have a tentative date planned with The Fabulous Robert some day or night this week, and a concert to go to on Saturday.
I guess "relaxing" means something different to me nowadays than it did a year ago.
Just one last thing before I close tonight, because I feel like bragging a little bit. Tamra and I went to the gym this afternoon, and I weighed myself after a three-mile run (yes! I'm going to make it to five miles at a stretch very quickly, I think), and I've lost three pounds in the past week!
I still have a ways to go before my goal weight (I'm at 202 right now, and my ideal weight is about 185), but realizing that just cutting out soda for water and eating clementines instead of cookies, along with some moderate exercise is actually doing some good in such a short amount of time is a real shot in the arm for me. Despite having fallen off the treadmill today (I was talking to Tamra, who was using the elliptical trainer to my left, and lost my footing...it didn't cause any damage, and was pretty funny. I wish someone had videotaped it, because I would like to have seen the tumble I took), I'm really getting back into the idea of working out, and having the gym at work just makes it so damned easy.
By June, I hope to be slim and ready to hit the beach. Though I'll have to wear SPF 3,007 and a hat because I'm just that Irish, at least I won't have to worry about how I look in swim trunks. In Cancun. In front of a bunch of people I haven't met in real life yet.
Cancun is definitely going to be a time when I won't think about word counts at all. Though I'll probably see if there's a way for me to keep updating while I'm there.
Just to be obnoxious about it, the word count for tonight's entry is 1,938.