Wandering the savage garden…

I’m grinding out words already.

The 500 Words challenge (where you write 500 words a day for thirty-one days) has two primary aspects to it that make it, well, a challenge: the word count (at least 500) and the duration (thirty-one days, straight.)

When I get on a tear, 500 words is nothing – I tend to write more than that per day anyway, on various things and to various people. The challenge there is “getting on a tear.” When I’m writing, I usually have something to say (that’s why I’m writing, right?) and I tend to try to say it. That means that for this entry, I’ve already said what I felt I needed to say:

The 500 Words challenge (where you write 500 words a day for thirty-one days) has two primary aspects to it that make it, well, a challenge: the word count (at least 500) and the duration (thirty-one days, straight.)

Since I’ve already said what I wanted to have said for this post, everything else is a grind – I’m basically rehashing what I’ve already said, expanding, fleshing out. It’s like writing an Amplified Bible or something, where every word has alternate meanings or synonyms – writing by thesaurus.

It goes against most of the habits I’ve tried to develop, habits against chasing rabbits for the sake of chasing rabbits.

I don’t mind the freedom to go into more depth, to be sure – in some ways, I find writing for the web constrictive, because I don’t think very simply in the first place. So my natural writing style would be fluid and verbose, as I describe a pattern, then try to click it into place around a theme to make a point.

But the web doesn’t work that way; people scan, they don’t look for patterns. So for the web, I write more directly, I try to pull out the themes and points, and use that instead of my natural form of communication or description.

So what happens here is that I start with my thesis statement – my theme – and work from there as usual, and I try to flesh it out as if someone were to be interested in it (also as usual), and then… I find myself running out of steam around 400 words. Every time. I’m at … this is word 370, and I am now reaching.

The other side of the challenge is the duration not of the writing, but the challenge itself. Thirty-one days, straight, is a lot. I could see “every weekday for a month” as being a lot easier, honestly, because you’d have the downtime of knowing you had those days off to recharge or observe, to build something that could be written about.

But the nature of the challenge is to avoid that. The nature of the challenge to me is that I honestly want to try to publish every day – here – in addition to whatever else I may write. (I’ve published at least five other things during the time I’ve been on the challenge so far, on other sites.) But I want to build traffic up here, too, and part of that is having content.

Hopefully I’ll succeed at the challenge – and hopefully I’ll see more traffic, too.

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