Three years. 36 months. 1096 Days. That’s how long it’s been since I finally returned to the blog I began in 2002 and mostly ignored until 2010. That’s how long it’s been since I decided that I was going to either prove I could be a writer, or I was going to shut the hell up about wanting to be one when I grew up.
That’s how long it’s been since I started a personal challenge to write 120,000 words in 2010.
On January 30th, 2010, I opened my first post with a rather ominous sentence: “I have come to the conclusion that I am not a very good writer.”
I was wrong about that one. When I first started, I wasn’t a writer at all. I was an aspiring writer making the same excuses other people not writing have made since humans first started inking papyrus.
Three years later, you could certainly make the argument that I am not a very good writer, but whatever else, at least I am a writer.
Putting that last bit there down, even including the completely unnecessary italic-flourish on “am”, gave me a smile.
If nothing else, at this point, I certainly have no fear of calling myself a writer.
Of course, I got as much wrong in prophesying what would come of the Puddintopia Writing Challenge as I got right.
So here’s what we’re gonna do: over the course of the year spanning January 29, 2010 to January 28, 2011, I am going to write 300 individual creative writing entries of 400 words or more. The entries can be almost anything as long as they represent original work, from fiction to more traditional Puddintopia commentary. I expect there will be a lot of short fiction, because it generally tends to appear more easily in my somewhat overactive imagination. They may be themes, there may not. There may be recurring characters. There may be lonely visitors. There will even be nearly incoherent ramblings, but rest assured, there will be no song lyrics.
Was there some short fiction? Yes, certainly, a bare glimpse of it. Remember the “bar patron“? I rather liked the idea behind those shorts, but for some reason I let them go too quickly. I was also quite pleased with the pieces I wrote for Chuck Wendig‘s weekly Flash Fiction contest on Terribleminds back in the heady days of ’11: An Unexpected Guest and To the Victor, the Spoils.
And who could forget, Holly’s Day, the story I wrote based on soliciting 10 random words from readers, family, friends, etc, and then using them in the tale. It wasn’t easy, but at least I succeeded in finishing that one, as opposed to the failure of the second try at a 10-word tale. Truth be told, that second one gave me a great idea for a novel—a very dark one—and I could never work it into a thousand words or less.
Little did I know, though, the one of the first pieces of fiction I’d write in this space would snowball into an actual, real-live, 98,000-word novel. Yes, in case you weren’t around for the days when I wrote about it endlessly, Famine started here (well, or more specifically, here: A man, alone) just two days after I picked up the writing gauntlet I’d thrown to myself.
There have certainly been themes, though, and I’m quite shocked to read that excerpt above and find that even at the beginning I was expecting “nearly incoherent rambling”. Indeed, I’d say I didn’t so much hit that nail on the head as I drove it straight through with one of those pneumatic power-nailers and then set the whole board on fire for good measure.
On the other side of that coin, though, I apparently claimed there would be no song lyrics. With that in mind, knowing that I wrote and even had the gall to post—publicly!—a song parody is almost as shameful as admitting I’ve watch all the Twilight movies of my own accord.
So. Three years and 797 posts later, where do we stand? Well, I am proud to say that at least Puddintopia outlasted Jersey Shore, which I held up as the poster child for empty thoughts back in that very first post. Perhaps there is hope for human society, yet.
My original intent was to exercise my writing skills and produce posts to make the Puddinette laugh. I’d say I succeed there more often than I fail. Maybe they aren’t always knee-slappers, but if I can bring a smile to her face, I think I’m doing what I can to honor my marriage. Not that it makes up for the nightly assault on her hearing/well-being I perpetrate via the Snores of Earth-Shattering Doom, but there’s only so much I can do there. Some problems are just bigger than we are. That’s why we have a Batman.
I’m thrilled to say Puddintopia’s audience is much larger than I ever expected. Then again, I expected it to be about four people. I would have had to demonstrate some dinosaur-extinction-level epic failure not to have done better than that.
Thus we see the beauty in low expectations!
Of course, being pleased to justifiably claim that I’m writer now is barely the beginning. The idea isn’t just to be a writer, but to be able to carve some portion of our living out of monies made from the rambling words that tend to pour out of my head. Or is it my fingers? I dunno, maybe it’s that third nipple. Wherever they comes from, I mean.
Either way, to date, the sum total of dollars I’ve made from writing amounts to, um, nothing. $0. A big goose egg. No sheckles, smackers, samolians, or wampum. With what I’ve made from writing and $4.25, I could get an overpriced combination of espresso and milk from Starbucks. But! Rome was not built in a day, and neither is a successful career writing. Sometimes there’s just no way to get out of putting in the time.
So I’ll keep writing and sending it out there into the world to see if I can get someone to bite. Sooner or later, I’ll catch the fish I’m looking for—or the shark will catch me, one.
In the meantime, I’ll be here, rambling incoherently, and hoping you’re still following along.
Thank you for accompanying me along my word-laden path these last three years, and here’s to many more to come.
*Did you notice that somewhere between that first post and this one, my sign-off went from “pud’n” to “Pud’n”? As if it was really a proper moniker and worthy of respect or something. Looks like someone has gotten a little grandiose for his britches!