My ten-day writing challenge results are littered about me; sad rags and remnants where once the manuscript's fragile carcass shone lightly.
I failed to complete my writing project, Maddie's Choice. Days one through four went smoothly, resulting in 32 pages of manuscript; days five, six and seven were sacrificed to required reading for class; day eight was a nightmare and days nine and ten were spent recovering from the nightmare.
I fell off the writing wagon on day five because I had procrastinated reading One Hundred Years of Solitude. I love metaphors, but not 456 pages of one metaphor. Since my time management was poor, as soon as I scaled the final page, I had to write the paper; pure agony.
Yet, I had a breakthrough. Possibly Marquez meant don't plant seeds of spiritual or physical incest in your family or your country. Doing so results in children born with pig's tails and a country butchered like a pig. Get out more. Become educated. Get several cross-referenced concordances with explicit diagrams about sex. Choose suitors outside your family to spruce up a sapped bloodline. Don't let Auntie bathe little nephew because she will play with his...and he will grow up a twisted rapist. Little life lessons like that we can all use.
To be considered responsible, I had to toss off my writing challenge and boss myself through the paper. Fear of a bad grade got me through when I was tempted to quit. Right in the middle I had a huge burst of writing inspiration—rare and delicious—and I had to ignore it since it didn't concern my paper. That is what really hurt. I am afraid I was forced to murder something precious.
After the all-nighter on the paper, I went straight to work, exceeding Colombia's legal limit of caffeine intake, suffering heart palpitations, and in hypomanic personality mode. Pieces of me were skittering all over the pharmacy; the literary expressions which eloped with my lips were original, strange and awesome, receiving rave reviews from co-workers. I distracted people from their work and felt I didn't know myself at all as one-liners, quips and word twists spewed everywhere.
The next day I crashed. And the next. Physically ill and mentally compromised, I could barely move for days nine and ten.
1. Without better time management, I won't get any challenge of any kind completed.
2. I hate being a procrastinator.
3. Maddie's Choice was floundering and that became clear.
4. Brainstorming with a friend revived Maddie; she now has a voice, a story, and I'm committed to hearing all she has to say.
5. Sometimes my boss thinks I am a cute little girl-thing. I'm very lucky he still thought this when I showed up at work hypomanic.
6. Use feminine wiles more often with boss at work.
7. My paper received an A and personal kudos from the Prof tonight at our writer's meeting, despite the dread I felt.
8. I can write well under pressure, but is it worth it? Better to systemize my productivity.
9. Every public announcement of personal accountability is going to mean life will bite me in the heinie.
10. Fueling up daily is vital. I need regular sleep, food, water, and contact with creative people. This is so "no duh."
I don't know yet. However, I learned that serious writing projects require serious dedication. To have dedication, things other than writing have to be in their place and stay there. To be serious, a life commitment is required. To make a life commitment, ransacking the life I have top to bottom is only one hair on the cat.