Day 4 of working toward writing one million words this year

2018: Day 4 of 365 writing 3,000 words per day
Word count 8,859 of 1,000,000

Dear Reader,

Dinner tonight involved ordering a cheese pizza and an absolutely wonderful raspberry filled devil’s food cupcake. Seriously, it was wonderful. A few years ago we had tried to make Roberta’s Pizza Dough Recipe from The New York Times in our home kitchen. Tonight the pizza that was delivered must have had extra cheese on it. It was a surprisingly heavy pizza. The dough from the pizza reminded me of a much thicker Roberta’s pizza. Sometimes when you are hungry just the smell of a freshly delivered pizza can bring you joy. Tonight was one of those nights. From the very moment the pizza arrived and was taken out of some type of warming container it smelt fantastic. Three very large pieces of pizza were consumed in rapid fire. A fourth piece of pizza is still waiting in the box to be eaten. Soon or later it will probably be the final part of dinner.

Before that last piece of pizza became the focus of my dinner journey a cupcake may or may not have been consumed. It arrived in a funny cardboard box. With just a little bit of effort the top of the box came off. Sliding the top of the box to the side of my tray happened almost without any thought about it. Both side flaps released and the box opened up to allow you to grab the cupcake. It was billed as a raspberry filled devil’s food cupcake. That description turned out to be true. I cut it in half and enjoyed one half straight away before returning my focus to my last slice of pizza. Sometimes a really filling and exciting dinner is enough to help me relax and begin the writing process. Without question you should be able to tell if it helped based on the last two paragraphs.

Tonight was going to be a night that included a pizza and a movie. A quick pass through the channels on the television opened the door to maybe watching Tin Cup or trying to find something else to have on in the background. Most of my writing sessions have some type of soundtrack. It might be a movie or maybe just some music. Writing without any noise or distraction does not happen very often. Maybe it would be an interesting experiment for me eliminate all distractions and write in complete silence for an evening. It has probably been more than a decade since that type of writing session occurred.

Most of my days and most of my time are filled with some type of noise. My time seems to be filled with things happening. Taking the time to meditate in absolute silence has not really interested me. Instead of silence I would rather listen to an album from start to finish or maybe even just turn on the television. Given some time for reflection that need for noise really does seem to be consistent. We do have to take the time to be reflective practitioners and think about how we want to execute our craft. We have to make a decision about how we went to move forward. The decision to strive forward should be something that receives a proper amount of consideration.

Instead of engaging in a proper amount of reflection my thoughts wondered to what it would take to hand carve a guitar. Building custom guitars has always been something that caught my attention. It predates even my need to surf the internet for new computers. Carving a guitar body by hand is probably something that I could do this year. Trying to carve a guitar neck would require a certain amount of more advanced skills. That said it would probably be possible to buy a guitar neck and carve a custom guitar body. For some reason that type of effort really does seem to come to the forefront of my thoughts. It would probably be a better strategy to spend my time reflecting on writing with purpose.

We have reached day four in the long journey toward writing 1,000,000 words in 2018. At a clip of 3,000 words per day that means that each work my writing target would be 21,000 words per week. That is larger than the minimum average words per week required to hit 1,000,000 words per year. One million divided by 52 comes out to about 19,230.77. This week I am on track to hit my targets and while that is a good thing it has also opened my eyes to just how difficult the journey will be this year.

Topic 1: Understanding the art of meaningful conversation

People talk to people every day. Taking the time to have a very real and meaningful conversation sometimes seems like a lost art. This is not a treatus about mining for conserational treasure. This batch of prose provides an inquiry into what it takes to engage in meaningful conversations with people. For the most part it takes a certain amount of time and energy to engage in the art of meaningful conversations. Sometimes it is much easier to sit down and write long form prose vs. trying to talk to somebody for more than 10 minutes. It feels like people are getting busier and busier. Sometimes I think that social media is breaking down long form communication.

Throughout my efforts to write 3,000 words per day this week I have developed a method for setting up my weblog posts. I pretty much set up the shell of the weblog post and continue to push in more content throughout the day. The post has a scheduled time and I have been tinkering with it up until the time it publishes. I spent some time this week trying to figure how to graphically show my writing output per year. It might be an interesting graph. At some point, that is probably be built ut as a live graphic.

Consider for a moment the principle units of communication in the workplace. Two units of communication that are pervasive are email and meetings. Both of these units of communication constrain how people exchange information by time or format. People do not want to sit and read ridiculously long emails. Brevity in the fine art of workplace communication tends to carry the day. Meetings constrain communication based on time. Really complex or difficult discussions take time. They may require more than one engagement and they may require a lot of back and forth. I would argue that people do not really have the time to engage in truly substantive meaningful dialogue anymore. Either a surface level agreement occurs on a direction or a directive is given to move forward, but the foundations beyond the surface level are not properly addressed to the point where all due consideration is complete.

Topic 2: Picking the right movie

Tonight I never managed to pick a movie to watch. It is now a little bit late in the evening to start watching a movie. Tonight would have had to be a Netflix night, but that did not happen. The number of movie channels here is pretty much limited to some HBO variations. It is amazing just how much video on demand changed my ability to pick the right movie for the night. Selection processes used to involve reviewing options and picking something that was on a channel. Beyond selection of a channel it would have been possible to put on a VHS, DVD, or eventually Blu-ray disc. Streaming and video on demand simply changed the delivery model for movie content forever. It really changed what it meant to pick the right movie.

To be honest it has caused a lot of lengthy search sessions. Some of the searches did not yield anything useful. They were just a waste of time. Given that most of the time I’m just turning on the television to have some noise in the background that is probably not a very efficient strategy. Sure the ultimate answer would just be to watch reruns of things like the X-Files, Northern Exposure, and Andromeda. That would constrain the search process and just help move things forward. It would also be a lot less interesting. Searching for new and interesting things is exciting.

Today was one of those days where the words were not flowing at a reasonable pace. It turns out that writing 3,000 words every day is a pretty big commitment. From time to time I have been known to produce a tremendous amount of words in a short period of time. Inspiration strikes and sometime that is enough to create something in a single writing session. Writing 3,000 words a day is about more than riding an occasional wave of inspiration. It is about finding a purposeful reason to write and engage in generating prose.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
San Antonio, Texas
Written on a ASUS Flip Chromebook C101P using Google Docs

P.S. I’m working on sketching out some more topics for the year. My first few days of writing have been rather ad-hoc. At some point, I will need to start writing based on a roadmap of topics. It may be easier to start writing short stories. My ability to rapidly write short stories could help push my writing efforts forward this year. Sometimes writing non-fiction is harder than writing fiction. Other times the words are ready to jump onto the page and writing is going to happen either way.

Upcoming 2018 Writing Topics:

— Recap of all the video camera equipment I have owned
— All the promise and failures of my first Sony camcorder
— That one with a roadtrip to Florida
— Applied AI: A use case based exploration
— My ode to minor league hockey
— Progress within general AI vs. specialized use cases
— My review of the ASUS C101P Chromebook
— On leadership and the modern workplace
— Short story “The Knock”

Feel free to leave topic suggestions in the comment section.