Wow, just wow. I have to admit that even I’m a little surprised. It’s been just 246 days since I proclaimed on January 30th that I wasn’t a very good writer and if I was going to keep pretending I wanted to be one when I growed all up, I needed to actually do some writing. The assignment was to write 120,000 words or more in a year, which I figured would mean around 300 posts of 400 words. Ten thousand words a month isn’t too bad for a fella with a full-time job, four kids, a wife that needs and deserves regular attention, and a dream, right?
Well, I guess I showed that goal who was boss.
It really shouldn’t come as any surprise that I hit the milestone ahead of schedule. I might not always be the most wordy guy to talk to; in fact, I can often come off as either shy, an arrogant jerk, or kind of slow-witted because I rarely have the right words for spoken conversation. But once I start writing, well, it seems that I can take a subject that really could be adequately covered by a twenty word paragraph and go crazy until I realize I’ve been rambling about beeswax for 800 words and haven’t even gotten to my main topic, something seemingly unrelated, such as gingivitis.
A friend of mine once said, “When you get an email from Puddin, you usually just need to read the first paragraph to get the basic idea and then last line or two to get the punch line. Everything in between is good, but I don’t have that kind of time.”
I appreciate that somebody out there has been reading the in-between for 246 days. And based on my still-paltry-but-growing-monthly web traffic, someone has been reading, and not just my wife, mother, and mother-in-law. So whoever you are, I hope I’ve managed to occasionally bring a smile to your face or given you one or two things to think about.
Sounds like I’m prepping to hang it up, doesn’t it? Well, you can either breathe a sigh of relief or curse those meddling kids, because I’ll be continuing to add to the tome of my ruminations and ramblings ad infinitum. I can’t stop now. For one thing, the (mostly) daily writing exercise is important. Repeated use tones muscles, even the creative ones. And for the moment, this is the only regular exercise I get. Another thing, if I quit, where would the Oompa Loompas turn for regular press? I’m the only PR they’ve got; I can’t just abandon them!
Having hopefully calmed fears that I’m planning to go cold-turkey, there’s one more topic I’d like to shed some light on at the historic moment. Since I’ve mentioned it on several
occasions, I thought maybe tonight would be a good time to give you the full list of the guidelines for self-control around here. So, without further ado, then, I give you…
The Ten Puddintopia Commandments
- Write for yourself, what you want to write
- Remember to entertain
- Thou shalt not use excessively bad language
- Thou shalt not mention trips away from home until after returning
- Thou shalt not embarrass the Puddinette
- Thou shalt not embarrass the Puddinette by embarrassing yourself
- Thou shalt have no workplace bloggery
- Thou shalt not miss two consecutive days
- Thou shalt not mention family by name
- Thou shalt not blog intoxicated
The first two are guidelines I’ve thought were absolutely key since the very beginning. If I don’t like what I’m writing it will show, and no one’s going to want to read it. The language restriction, however, was, surprisingly, not a Puddinette mandate. In the past, I had a tendency to be rather…colorful…with my language. But I’m more mature now and wanted to write something that was not going to be off-putting just because I was irked about something and wanted to drop 17 F-bombs. See, Mom, I am a grown up, kinda. Also, Puddintopia is my homepage, my kids know I write it, and sometimes I leave a browser open. I don’t want to have to explain what b**ch means just to feel cool.
Not mentioning trips away before they are taken is occasionally a little difficult. For instance, sometime in December, I’m scheduled to travel to Never-Never Land for work, and I’ve got a whole thing in mind to write about how I think Tinker-bell works is a pain, but I can’t say anything yet. In this day and age, where we live by things like Twitter Location and Facebook Places, I realize that it’s archaic to keep your physical location on the down-low, but every time I see someone’s status change to “Jimmy checked in at Wal-Mart”, I think Burglary…there’s an app for that.
The rules about not embarrassing the Puddinette were much more difficult to work within than I thought. She was adamant at the beginning of our little exercise here that I not discuss certain things, and it was smart for her to draw a line in the sand because I have little pride and don’t embarrass easily. So, yes, I would have no problem talking about how the pharmacist messed up my Viagra prescription and screwed up my whole weekend*. What I didn’t expect was how often we’d have a conversation that would have been golden Puddintopia material, even by her admission, but there was just no way to work it in. If you’re married, you know what I mean. Sometimes you end up laughing for 20 minutes with your spouse about something you’d never speak to another person. Yes, it’s good material, but some things only belong at home.
As long as you realize that, there will never be a question about whether your marriage or blog comes first.
Oh, and for the record, rule #8 was broken twice, but it was caused by Zinzinnati Hell, so I don’t feel bad about it.
So then, I made my milestone, but tomorrow will be business as usual. Odds are that posts may be occasionally shorter going forward, as I no longer feel the 400 word limit looming and sometimes I’m going to want to duck in, say, “I’m writing my novel but today I saw an alien, of the galactic variety,” and get back to work. But I like making the Puddinette laugh, and occasionally cry, and I’m insecure enough to want to see that web traffic number keep rising. So don’t worry, I’ll always be there for you, dearest Puddintopia reader, I promise. For now, tonight, though, I’m going to take a moment, revel in the accomplishment, and tip back one of these.
Maybe I’m not such an awful writer after all.
*I totally made up this example. Really. I’m not kidding. Want proof? No, I didn’t think so.