Determined or Resolute

On January 1st, 2018, I turned twenty years old as the year turned itself into a new one. My whole life, this overlap between the beginning of my life and the beginning of the year has served as a catalyst for my progress and development as a young human being. With New Year’s resolutions come goals for my twenty-first year of life, and with the start of a new year, comes an entirely new phase of my own personal existence. It’s easy to wake up on your birthday, especially as one ages, and not feel any different at all. With my goals and resolutions, I strive to avoid that normalcy. January 1st is my special day, and I will force it to be that way if I have to.

As one of six resolutions I made for myself this year, I challenged myself:

To the best of my ability, I must write 500 words per day. As an overarching goal, try for 15,000 words per month.

This is limited to my personal, non-school writing, but includes everything from prose to poetry to, of course, blogging. Taking into account that my day-to-day activities and moods are unpredictable at best, I have deigned not to be too hard on myself when I slack or tragically fail at the required daily minimum. As we come to the conclusion of my beautiful birthday month, now struck me as the perfect time to reflect on the first thirty days of results.

Drum roll please. Anyone? Moving on.

writing january 2018
January 2018 words per day

This is a rough overview of January on my 2018 writing spreadsheet. I have been using Excel to track my word count each day, with the conditional formatting explained as follows:

  • Green – I have reached my daily minimum of 500 words that day.
  • Yellow – I wrote a little, even if hardly anything at all.
  • Red – Those big, blinding zeroes.

Now, I’ve never taken stats, nor have mathematics ever been my strong suit, but this experiment of mine so far has yielded interesting results:

  • Out of the 30 days evaluated, I achieved my goal on 13 of them, just over 1/3 of the time.
  • Were I to broaden my requirements to writing at all, I would have succeeded on 20 different days, upping the rate of success to 2/3 of the month.
  • On four days, I blew my goal out of the water with a word count of 1000 or more.
  • My monthly total (not including today, the 31st) came out to 14,482. I am pleased to report that by the time I finish this entry, I will have met my 15,000 word goal.
  • My average of words per day sits at ≈482.73. Again, by the end of this article, I will be above that sweet 500. [Edit: my average ended up at ≈489.39. Told you math wasn’t my strong suit.]
  • Ten days untouched? Yeah, that doesn’t surprise me.

I have never been a particularly quantitative wordsmith, in stark contrast to the sheer volume of work my dearest friend produces. Nonetheless, I have never let our creative differences stop me! I may not produce at the fastest or most consistent rate, but I sure produce. Eventually.

Overall, I am pleased with the results of this month. I may have skipped writing for an entire third of the month, but in the end, thanks to the help of significant outliers where I had extra drive, I maintained an average of 500 words per day, and reached my 15,000 word goal. How can I complain? To write every day is difficult for someone as busy, stressed, and distractible as I, so I knew going into this that consistently following up was going to be a stretch goal.

Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 10.55.41 AM
My 2017 National Novel Writing Month statistics. My attempt ended on day 16, at 26,784 words out of 50,000.

This is progress. Aside from my attempts at doing NaNoWriMo (stats included, for reference), I hardly wrote in 2017, so I am already off to a fruitful start to the new year. I am excited. I genuinely and with boundless energy cannot wait to continue working on this project, enticed by wherever it may take me. What results with February hold? March? Further yet? Only time, and the resolute determination of this young, eccentric, scribe, will tell.

 

And So It Begins

Perhaps like a witch’s cauldron, or perhaps like a warm, healing broth, there are a lot of things swirling about in this mind which I possess. As I write this, I should most certainly be taking a shower, or even just pulling myself out of that black hole I call a bed, yet I was drawn to the keys of my laptop this morning. The urge to create was too strong, too overwhelming to ignore. I may not have time to finish this essay now, but the impulse to write it speaks volumes about my motives. These ideas I’ve been harboring are finally sick of their cheap studio flat in my brain. Like any human in a rut, they wish to branch out. They need more space to feel alive. As their cultivator, I feel it’s my job to help these miscellaneous ideas of mine find homes to call their own, and to pen them in a place where all can see seems to be a wonderful way to do that.

It is afternoon now, and I’ve gone about my day for a while. The urge to share my thoughts remains, which is a good sign in a world where many distractions worm their way into my ADHD mind. This is happening. Words fill a page, ideas come to fruition. How easy, in its simplest form, is one of the most beautiful and complex arts known to man. I find my power in the written word. It is a tool I can wield, an instrument I have the ability to mold into something beautiful, horrifying, mystifying, confounding, or any other of the numerous adjectives in the extensive English language. With words at my fingertips, I have always felt the world in my hands. Ever since I was a child, I knew that writing would be a part of me. As my life experience grows, so does my desire to create.

I have blogged before. Dating back to probably ‘08 when I was hardly more than ten, I was dabbling extensively in the art of web design. Whether or not I still have it in me to design graphics or code WordPress layouts from scratch, well, only time will tell. What I do have, however, is that familiar spark of drive. As new websites rose from the ashes of the old over these years, each new era brought with it a new inspiration. A new reason why I wish to share my writing with the world. Now, in 2018, I’m finding myself face to face with an old friend: the desire to start up my blog again. Let’s see, shall we, how long this will last.

Now’s as good a time as any to get introductions out of the way. My name is Avery. I am twenty years old and live in eastern Massachusetts. I go to Northern Essex Community College and have a deep fascination with humanity. I live with my mother Jane, stepdad Jim, three-legged dog Uma, and precious cat/daughter Holly. My interests outside the obvious include reading, journaling, walks in nature, and spending time with the people close to me. Among those people are my charming boyfriend, wonderful parents, and irreplaceable childhood friend. Those I associate with are the essence of my being and truly inspire me to live my life each day. To them all, I dedicate this blog and each word on it.

With new adventures, come new feelings and experiences. I hope that by re-entering the world of blogging, I may harvest the fruits of these unknowns. Before I conclude this introductory post, I must thank the people who have spurred me on in my sporadic career of blogging. I offer my utmost gratitude to Derek Leif and Joe Occhipinti for spurring me to get back into this, and going waaaay back in time to my roots in blogging, the ever-prominent and ever-inspiring Georgie Luhur.

To all of those humans who took time out of their day to read this post, I ask you to come back and check for further musings. I intend on making the most out of my time here on this blog. If I can get even one post to resonate, I’ll have started the ripple effect I hope for.