Experiment: Take six weeks off of work. Start date: January 19th, 2015.
Hypothesis: Failure. Complete and utter failure (in the most optimistic way possible).
Tools: Laptop. Pen. Paper. Various works of already written fiction. Brain.
- Week One: Outside of any emergencies, avoid all social contact. Avoid the news. Sleep a lot. Sleep very little. Writing above all else, even eating. No entertainment, except reading fiction, which is still work. No Twitter. No Facebook. No Netflix. No Groupon. No Skype. No Instagram. No Grubhub. No Spotif...who am I kidding, I'm keeping Spotify, but rocking that private mode.
- Week Two: Keep writing.
- Week Three: Are you deaf? Just. Keep. Writing.
- Week Four: Escape To NYC aka "Where's Waldo" but in Brooklyn. All the museums. All the Chinatowns. All the coffee. All the beer.
- Week Five. Escape to DC.
- Week Six: Recover.
- Week Seven: Reality.
I've been thinking about doing this for awhile. The closer it came to actually pulling the plug, the more nervous I got to thinking that I made a really stupid decision. Now that it's finally here, I have to follow through and see what happens. Two recent tweets by two brilliant minds serendipitously boosted my confidence in my decision:
Repeat after me: "Thank you for the invite but I'm gonna stay home and write."— Sherman Alexie (@Sherman_Alexie) January 5, 2015
It's better to create something that others criticise than to create nothing and criticise others. Play nice everyone. & have a great day :)— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) October 20, 2014
"I went to the woods becuase I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." - Henry David Thoreau (not currently on Twitter)
A couple people have compared this excursion of mine to Thoreau and Walden. It's not quite that intense (pretty sure he didn't have a laptop), and it's only a week as compared to two years. But a week without any human contact must seem pretty bizarre, unrealistic even, especially living in a city. But this is my woods. Sometimes, it's best to revert into oneself, especially for someone who makes it a point to explore these urban woods so entirely and enthusiastically. For now, I want to make writing the essential facts of life, to write deliberately, and to learn what it has to teach.
How does one define human contact? I will still probably keep up with the news. I'll still read books that others have written. I'll listen to music others have recorded. I might even send out an email or two. But as far as physically seeing, touching, or hearing the natural, unelectronically amplified vibrations of sound from another person's mouth, I'll have no contact with any of it.
I read advice for writers constantly. I read about the habits of famous writers. I read the tips from the woman who wrote 90,000 words in six weeks. Have a routine they say; don't have a routine say others. Have word goals. Don't have word goals. Frankly, I don't give a shit about any of it. There is no one way to write or to type. Even Henry Miller's advice is contradictory. I want to conflate writing and typing (Capote be damned). I want to type pages and pages of material that can eventually be sculpted into a final product. And there may never even be a final product. That's a risk I'm willing to take. That all of this could be for nothing.
I just quit working two jobs six days a week, but this will arguably be the hardest work I've ever had to do. Probably because I've told so damn many of you of my plans. Well, make no small plans right? So, bon nuit for now. Time to hibernate (and if you're still reading this far, you can probably bet on catching me at Yonatan Gat at the Empty Bottle on Feb 2nd).