Burning Words: Write them Now!For almost the past month, I’ve been writing, short stories. One per day. My goal: do this for one year, and have not only practiced extensively my craft, but opened new brain maps for success—for thinking of myself as not just a someday writer, but as a definite here-and-now author.  However, something large and exciting is looming:

So, in one hour it begins: NaNoWriMo — The Infamous National Novel Writing Month where pure output beckons, and thousands of would-be writers test their mettle to see if they can make it work and win. The prize? Having accomplished a full first-draft of a 50,000 word novel (novella?).  If you sign up online, you will be one of the official contestants, responsible for writing an average 1,667 words per day, or about 2,000 if you take one day in seven out.  At the end of the process, the honor system prevails with an automated online word-count checker.

Not to take away from the initial goal I had of writing a short story every day, I found this shortest form of short story I could find—the drabble.  It’s technicall one-hunded (100!) words only, which gives you room to pack a punch, but not to mess around. Here’s one piece of machinery that I found very useful, app-wise, when it comes to writing: especially drabbles, but I imagine it will be just as great for 2,000 words a day during NaNoWriMo as well: Write or Die by Dr Wicked.

What is this application?  It’s a very simple online text-enter zone, where you can set some parameters (basic goals for words, time to spend, etc.) and then start typing.  If you fall behind your parameters (your # of words, etc.) then an annoying alarm sounds, and the screen will flash pink, then red.  This warns the dawdling mind that time is up.  Various levels of forgiveness are available, including the military-strength kamikaze mode, which begins to delete your writing after you pass a certain point of slothful not-putting-words-on-paper.

Just do it.  Carpe diem.  Recently, the “classic” movie Back to the Future celebrated a significant anniversary since it’s release date.  The actor who portrayed the time-machine inventor / mad-scientist “Doc” described his character thuswise: as a man engaged in a race against time, someone who had so many ideas, so many thoughts, so much to do, that he simply couldn’t stop.  An apt theme for a main character in a movie about travel through time, no doubt, but it is more than that — it’s a window on how we all should live our lives.  We all have genius to pour out onto this life, good things to do—and so much distraction to waste away the beauty that we could sow upon the world.

Teach me to number my days that I may apply my heart unto wisdom.

-Psalm 90:12

Life is short.  Write fast.  As another sci-fi flick mad-scientist character (Soren, from Star Trek: Generations) said, “Time is the fire in which we burn.”

Write or die.

Just a note: the Write or Die application by one mysterious “Dr. Wicked” came into my personal noosphere (cognitive space, knowledge, awareness) when I was listening to a brand new (to me) podcast:  You can find it on the iTune store under “Tech for Writers” — its content is extremely helpful, and I actually find this podcast to be made of  probably more practicably applicable information than many of the other more “fun” how-to-write shows that I often listen to—the real nuts and bolts of things to use, and the day-to-day physical side of life as a writer is quite bracing herein, and like nothing I’ve seen anywhere else.  Quite the example of the niche.