Sunday, January 30, 2011

Some Numbers

As of this month, I have been writing my blog for a year.  There have been some moments of down time here and there, but overall, I have been fairly consistent.  I have found a rhythm I like - two times a week on Wednesday and Sunday.  My original goal of using my blog as an outlet for my daily writing has altered.  Now I follow that goal on it’s own, writing notes, character descriptions, plot points, etc. for the novel I am working on.
Amazingly enough, one year in my life, while it seems like a long time, is really not very much when compared to the sum of my years.  I am 31 years old, and one year of my life only accounts for just over 3%.  So while I am proud of myself for being consistent, I still have a ways to go before my consistency becomes any sort of mile stone.

Take some of these examples for comparison.  I have been married to my wife for five and a half years - 18%.  We have known each other for 9 years - 30%.  I have lived in the Houston area for 13 years - 42%.  Before that I lived in San Antonio for 16 - 52%.  On the other hand, I only lived in Hawaii for 2 - 6% - and London for 4 months - 1%.  I have played the bassoon and saxophone for 20 years - 65% - which also corresponds to how long I have know my best friend Steven.
So, in terms of longevity, my writing habit has a long ways to go before I can celebrate it in any grand sort of way.  Sure, I can honor my focus and determination to make it last, after all, we encounter many things during the course of a year which can knock us off course.  I certainly encountered some of those this past year, but managed to regain my way every time.

Samantha also celebrates an anniversary this month - three years of Mary Kay, or just over 10% of her life.  BTW,  her website is here -  Hard work and perseverance are the name of the game.  Never giving up and always believing in yourself are important.  I am so very proud of her for her consistency and iron-will.
Since we are talking numbers a little bit, I would like to share an update on my novel.  While I don’t have even one chapter on the page, I have been incredibly productive.  My goal was to write between 500-1000 words a day, and have accomplished that nearly every day.  The days that life interfered, I made sure to keep track of the words I owed; the next opportunity I had to write, I made up for it.  Between the first and the 29th, I should have written between 14,500 and 29,000 words.  I have written 19,401 - an average of 669 words a day.  How would this translate into page in a novel?  The average page in a modern novel contains 250 words, so I have produced approximately 77 pages in a novel.  

Now, most of what I have written are descriptions, possibly story lines, character descriptions, backstory, setting, etc.  I did spend a day and write 500 words on a chapter I have since discarded.  Unfortunately, as I write, I discover more things about my characters and the story changes and grows.  The problem with jumping in and writing chapters too soon is that they will change.  I still have a long way to go, but I am pushing forward to having a first draft finished by the end of June.
All of this above certainly is interesting.  I find it fun to crunch numbers periodically - it seems to put my life in a slightly different perspective.  Another perspective I appreciate when reviewing your life is the one proposed by the musical Rent
.  In the song Seasons of Love, the lyrics refer to the number 525,600.  This is the number of minutes in a normal year.  The song is a meditation on how to measure the course of a year.  Do you measure it in the number of minutes, the number of sunsets, cups of coffee, in miles traveled, in strife?  How do you describe it?  
The characters suggest measuring the course of a year in love.  How have you loved?  Who have you loved?  In what ways?  Have you chosen to love yourself more than others?  Do you love your work more than yourself or the people in your life?  Do you love money and the things it can buy more than those who love you?  
These are tough questions to answer.  Most of us might even choose to lie to ourselves in an attempt to hide what we truly feel.  If you allow yourself to answer the questions truthfully, you might find that this next year will bring you more happiness.
All the numbers I threw at you today mean nothing to me without people to share them.  The more significant numbers are the ones associated with people, and there are many numbers I could have mentioned that I didn’t.  Love is what makes the rest of the numbers possible.  Sharing that love makes those numbers more significant.  
Thank you for being part of making those numbers special and for making the past year possible.  Knowing that all of you are there and participating in my adventure drives me forward.  Those numbers could not have happened with out you.

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