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WRITING A MILLION WORDS

Cindy Maddera

The other day, I started a word document on my computer for the sole intention of writing a specific story. All of my other bits of started stories are on the drive which means I have access to them whenever I am not near my personal computer. I kind of thought if I put it in a word document on my computer that I would specifically dedicate a certain amount of time every day to sit and write. That happened four days ago. I added two sentences to the two pages I'd copied and pasted over from a drive document. You know what I did Sunday after finishing laundry, making ghee, washing dishes (we use a lot of dishes on Sundays) and cleaning the bathroom? It sure wasn't writing. I organized my sock and underwear drawer. It's really nice. I should have taken a picture of it to show you. 

I also read. I've been reading Loving Day by Mat Johnson and I'm pretty much in love with this guy's writing style. There have been many times I've had to stop and read some things out loud because of how the words were strung together. I need to stop doing this because it's slowing me down. I pre-ordered Circe by Madeline Miller and it arrived days ago. I'm really excited about this book, but I've always been the kind of reader who finishes a book before starting another. Even though my fingers twitched to open up to the first page, I set it down and walked away. The idea of hearing Circe's side of the story, even if it's made up, is oh so appealing to me. I didn't really care for the Odyssey when I read it as a kid. Actually, all of those old Greek stories have been on my least favorite list mostly because women are either no where in the story, a beautiful damsel in distress or a witch. 

My insecurities were developed hundreds of thousands of years ago, just like all women. It has been passed down from ancient ancestors through art and storytelling. From the earliest literature, women have been depicted as meek and mild or hateful and villainous or a combination of all of those things. We are rarely depicted as warriors and depicted lovingly only when our bellies are are round with child, most specifically a boy child. We are never smart or if found to be cleaver we must be doing the Devil's work. Women are deceitful. I can't even bare to pick up classic literature anymore without cringing. It reminds me how long and slow our struggle for this current level of equality has been. It's been over three hundred years since the last witch trial. It's been about a hundred years since a woman was arrested for protesting for her right to a vote. It's been fifty five years since Congress passed the Equal Pay Act, though we still see discrepancies in equal pay.

All of this has nothing to do with my inability to discipline myself into writing every day. It does have everything to do with how I want to twine words together. I once heard someone say that to be a better writer, you should read from different writers. So that's what I'm doing. I'm reading so that I can eventually write a million words.