Some of you have heard me mention this in passing, but many moons ago I tried to start up something called the Bleeding Ink Project. Basically the goal at the time was to write as much and as often as possible, with a goal of a few pages per day.
I was an idiot and decided I had to write 5 pages a day or I was failing. Then life happened, the 5 pages turned in to 25 as a few days slipped thanks to Life In General intervening -as it is wont to do- and I flipped out and ditched the whole thing. I also declared myself to really suck as a writer and thought maybe I should think about doing something else with that creative passion.
It's taken me quite a while, but I am now seeing that I was on the right track, but overly harsh with myself. 5 pages is a good goal, not a bad amount of writing to accomplish. But really in the beginning the goal, I feel, should be to write something every day. A poem, a few pages of a story being worked on, anything just as long as it engages the creative writing part of the brain.
I decided to reincarnate this idea and split it in to sub-sections.
The first was, of course, to write daily. I set the goal of 20 pages a week for myself. That let me mess around with where and when I could get the mass of it done, and so far I've actually found I've overshot my goal.
The second was to create a guide that diagrammed each accepted form of poetry. This was born out of both necessity and pride. I currently refuse to purchase anything that isn't directly related to continuing to exist and get to work, so I could not buy a book that talked about it.
Somehow I came up with the idea to instead create my own. I have a blank book with hand-stitched binding given to me by my mother at least a year ago for which I have never quite found a good use. I also recently got my hands on a Namiki fountain pen courtesy of birthday donations. Wanting to use both but wanting to make something special of the whole thing, I've opted to look up the various types online. Instead of purchasing a book I'm stretching my literary muscles by creating my own examples of the various types.
Thus far I am loving it, both the general writing of things (sitting on a 23 page piece of fiction that I'm really excited about) and the poetry challenge. It's a small ritual of mine to sit down and compose out a poem in the form of a cinquain or a haiku and set it to page with the fountain pen. So far the only snags came when I hit Epic poems (I had to balk and reference the Kalevala and the Illiad) and right now Fables. The examples given by the sites I'm using don't really have a definite rhyming scheme and the meter feels awkward. Plus it's supposed to teach something in the telling. I absolutely can't think of anything and I'm just stuck.
I love this project. I love to write. I love communication in general and it took me this long to realize that I am probably a born story-teller. I always take too long and include possibly unnecessary details. :) But the sheer rush of sitting down and letting the words flow out - bleeding ink - has been cathartic and beautiful. I find that if I haven't had a chance to sit down and pound something out I get incredibly antsy to do it.
I almost wish I had a buddy to do this with, maybe to race to a certain page number or to a certain type of poetry. Maybe just to write in general and share thoughts on things or get opinions. I know there are a lot of writers' groups out there but I've found them to be very self-flagellating and guarded in dealing with other individuals and it gets draining to constantly tell someone "No, you don't suck. Your use of trimeter here was inspired..."
Maybe friends sitting down to write, being willing to be open at the end of things.
Maybe some day.
But today I'm sitting on a day and change of not writing and it's driving me nuts. So I will happily dive back in to this project.