Thursday, May 21, 2015

500 Words A Day: An Experiment

Flannery O’Conner wrote, “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”  This is about the most brilliant and relatable statement I have ever read.  

I saw another quote that stuck with me recently:  “The biggest lie I tell myself is 'I don't need to write this down. I'll remember it.'"Ugh.  So many amazing ideas came and went.  At least, I thought they were amazing at the time.  Too amazing to forget.  But we’ll never know now.  I hope they come back some day.  I will totes write them down this time.

I began this blog three and a half years ago because writing helps me to specify the feelings that constantly wash over me, to capture and contain the thoughts that rush at me, that bounce off my brain and ricochet around my consciousness like pinballs.  (Editor -- is this cheesy or brilliant?) I’m still processing the events of the last couple of years.  And I guess the last couple of decades.  Let’s face it, I’m still processing the event of the last couple of lifetimes, because that’s how I roll.  All the moments are right here all the time.  It’s exhausting.  And exhilarating.  

<stops to count words, stops to google word-counting apps>  

200 words more or less.  Do the four words in the title count?    Do hyphenated words count as one word or two?  A few people wanted to know whether this or that “counted” for doing this project.  “If I write the words but don’t post them, does that count?”  I’m guessing the answer is “absolutely,” because I think the guy at @KaleandCigarettes who offered this experiment (not a challenge, remember, but an experiment, because Science) gives zero fucks about how you do it, zero fucks about what your criteria are for success.    Hell, he gives zero fucks about whether you even participate, although I guess he would feel gratified to know that you had.   I will certainly feel gratified if you join me, because maybe that guy will notice me if we tag the fuck out of this dealie-o.  He’s supah cute even if he IS probs young enough to be my son.  A girl can dream.    

<stops to count words again, even in the part I already counted in case I missed some>

FACEBOOK BREAK  <By-the-Hammer-of-Thorsday.  And the Giants won.>


Dude.  I got paid!  My payroll AND my bank both send me emails when the eagle has landed.  Too fucking much.  I love it.  I watch that bank balance like a hawk because after 25 years of dealing with other people (cough Mr. K. cough) and their spendthrift ways, I get to manage the budget for myself.  If we go over budget it’s because of spark plugs or therapy, not trips to Disneyland and spontaneous sushi for five.  (And we’re not talking the lunch special either.  Nigiri a la carte.   Kill me now. )

Word count again.  It’s 500, but just barely.  And word count isn’t that important.  I say that now that I know I reached the goal.  It’s not a competition.  Unless I won.  In which case it’s the fucking Olympics of whatever.    Another cool thing someone once said is that 90% of life is showing up.    So I showed up and wrote 500 words.  I showed up!    And the Giants won.  And I got paid.  But not for writing this nonsense.  And that’s okay.  

I may do this experiment every day for a month.  I will let it be okay if I don’t.  I may or may not post the results each day.  I will let that be okay if I don’t.   

The point is to write because, like Flannery O’Conner, I don’t know what I think until I see what I say.  

And because the biggest lie we tell ourselves is “I don’t need to write this down, I will remember it.”


  1. Where is the word counting app? P.S. Flannery O'Conner is from my hometown. Many thanks for turning me onto this experiment.

  2. I am totally writing mine in Word, to watch the word count, and going back and editing out words to make sure that I am at EXACTLY 500. And THEN, copying and pasting into my blog. Because OCD. Love the quotes... Thanks for sharing this "fun" experiment!!

  3. After that starting quote, I may have to do this! Tomorrow, maybe...

  4. Oy. I just commented but I can't tell if it worked because then I had to pick how I want to comment and it disappeared. Technology + me = confusion.

    "The point is to write because, like Flannery O’Conner, I don’t know what I think until I see what I say."

    That's awesome. I need to get in on this 500 words thing. Except for the fact that I'm so lazy. So lazy. And I'm wondering if I can write that over and over again and if it would count. But seriously, thank you for the inspiration.