642 Things

642 Things

Yesterday was my birthday and in the mail from a most beautiful friend, was the book, 642 Things To Write About. A big, thick paperback containing 642 writing prompts. Instantly, I took this as a sign and thought to myself, “This is my blog! That’s it! I will do a writing prompt everyday for a year and it will be amazing and quirky and fantastic!” (Because, of course, I didn’t pay very close attention and thought it was 356 things and not 642, because that would make more sense, right?)

I thought that this would be a great thing to do because I tend to LOVE books like this but never follow through on them. Which is when I realized, that’s basically the story of my life. I get these great ideas and never follow through…ever. (Wait a minute. Yesterday it was established that I am too hard of myself. So, in an effort to cut myself some slack, I will list off those things that I have followed through on: childbirth, childrearing, keeping my dogs despite the fact that my home is now a hairy dirt factory because of the muddy driveway they insist on sleeping in, holidays – once they’re booked and paid for, hmm…oh, and my marriage, ooh, and the first draft of two novels. That’s about it. Okay, so I have followed through on some things. That is why you never say never.) But it is true, I tend to say, “Ooh! I’m going to do that! Like, totally, absolutely, going to do it. I swear! This time it’s true. I’m gonna.” Until I fall off the wagon about five minutes later and find something else to get excited about.

So I decided that I owe it to myself to do this. To get out of my comfort zone and actually keep a promise to myself. Sure, I could have kept quiet about it as I just said it out loud in my car so no one would actually know I said anything of this and therefore would not remind me of my wonderful habit of starting and not finishing things. And yet, I do feel there is a reason she sent me this book. A book I picked up a long time ago to buy and thought, “Will I really do this? Yeah….NO.”

Sure, to anyone else they are just a bunch of silly writing prompts, but to me they are Mount Everest. Why? Well, let me tell you…

1. There are a lot of them. Like, well, 642.
2. I actually have to do this every day or I’ll be in the old folk’s home dictating them to my nurse because my hands are too weak and shaky to write legibly anymore.
3. Well, I really do want to actually follow through on SOMETHING, I’m so tired of all the unfinished great wonderful plans I have distributed all about my house and my life that just keep reminding me how distracted, lazy and scattered I am. But 642 writing prompts is really daunting. That’s a lot. That poses a super high risk that I am going to quit because I think the only thing I’ve ever consistently done that many times in a row is, well, eating handfuls of popcorn, or saying I’m never gonna drink again because then I end up drinking again, or, well, you’re getting my drift, right?
4. I hate doing anything I don’t want to do. Especially assignments and prompts and random writing exercises that are generally pointless. What? Write about my favorite day, because, why? Where will it get me? I remember hating this in school. With every pointless exercise (and I thought they were basically all pointless) I calculated how much time I would save just homeschooling myself and not doing these stupid exercises. I really, really hate just random shit. For example, the moment I show up at a course or a conference or any kind of class and they want to start with some kind of getting to know you game I want to scream, “I don’t give a shit! Get to the learning and lets get out of here so I can do something productive like, go to a movie or read a book or finish Sons of Anarchy!” I have often told my children, “Mom doesn’t play, kids.” Why? Because I could be doing something more productive, right? WRONG! I’m pretty sure that’s why I keep drinking wine when I say I’m going to stop; it’s the only way have to relax as I apparently can’t do it on my own.

I opened the book this morning to read some of the prompts and my initial gut reaction was to stomp my feet and whine at the ceiling, “But I don’t want to write about that!” Seriously, I’m still screaming it in my head. And that’s when I realized how important this is for me to do. I need to get outside of my steel comfort box I have welded up around me and make myself do something I might not want to do. Something that might actually benefit me, even if it is only means to avoid finishing my novel and putting it out there. (Oh wait, I’m supposed to be getting it done…okay, take that back. Those powers that be, as in the powers that have not yet screamed at me to go get a job and contribute for one, ignore that. I will finish that novel, I promise, you will still get your Trans Am, really, you will…)

And after all these obstacles, my next thought was, “Why would anyone care?”

This is a really big one for me. Why would anyone want to read my responses to silly writing prompts that will probably suck anyways. And the answer to that is, well, they probably won’t care. And that’s just it. This has to be about me and for me and not for anyone else. I realized yesterday that the majority of my life has been about pleasing others. Yeah, I act like I’m all, “What’s in it for me?!” but even my selfishness or my free-spiritedness or whathaveyou comes with a, “what would others think” attached to it. I’ve only finished firsts drafts of my novels because I am too scared to actually edit them finish them and put them out there. I’m afraid they’ll suck or won’t be liked or just, well, fall short. My thinking goes like this: I started this blog and now it has to be amazing and rock and have thousands of followers or it will be proof that I’m not good enough and this was a complete waste of time and everyone will laugh and point at me and say, “Look at her, what a loser, she thinks she is a writer – PUH-SHAW!”

But, I am old now. Like, really old (remember this all started with my birthday) and it is time for new beginnings. It’s time to start the year fresh and new and let go of all that stupid bullshit, because, the older you get the less you care what other people think, right? RIGHT!!!!! (Nod your head because I am always right, just ask my family.) I don’t need followers (but hey, I love you all and keep coming and reading and commenting and invite all your friends, because we all know that followers become your little blogging family and help support you and give you purpose and meaning and…well, yeah, all that) because this has to be about me and no anyone else. This is my chance to allow myself to fall short, to do something that people probably won’t care about or like, to do something pointless and consistent and potentially, fun. This is my chance to scream to the universe and say, “Hey! See? I’m doing it! I don’t even care what other people think! No one can stop me! Tell you about my favorite day? Okay! FINE! Just watch me!

So long story short, I really, really, really, really struggle doing things I just don’t feel like doing. And so, here I am, making myself do something I have refused to do for the majority of my life, write random nonsensical stuff for the mere enjoyment of it despite what anyone will think. Hopefully, I don’t spontaneously combust…or quit.


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