Running on empty

Eighteen (17 if you consider I skipped Nov. 11) days and it’s starting to feel like I’m running out of things to say — well, things I want to say on here, or things I think would be semi-interesting on here, anyways.

It’s a good thing that Macs have a calendar function on them though that makes it really easy to tell what day it is, because as I was thinking about how many days it’s taken me to run out of things to write about, I almost wrote 20 days. Probably because I’ve been staring at page layouts all day today with Nov. 20 written on them.

That’s the thing about working at a community newspaper that doesn’t publish every day. The days in between — for me, every second/third day (we publish Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday) ceases to exist, in a sense. Everything is in relation to “What issue can it be/was it published in?”

Add that to the fact that my work week is Wednesday-Sunday, and I end up being usually confused about what day it is.

Along the same lines of running out of things to say — I’m tempted to say I might step up from NaBloPoMo and try NaNoWriMo next year. I’m trying to figure out numbers right now — between writing articles for work, the full or partial interview transcriptions that I work from, and even this blogging, I’m sure I type more than 50,000 words a month. Because of the format of the web paper, the stories I write can be anywhere between 300 and 700 words, plus usually one 700-plus story for Tuesday/Thursday, and the transcriptions I work from are usually in the thousands; blogs posts usually are around 500. Maybe one day I’ll crunch the numbers.

But I realize typing 50,000 words and making a story out of 50,000 is a completely different thing. And it’s been a very, very long time since I’ve written something that wasn’t journalistically based.

It’s probably been a couple of years — a friend and I were having an MSN conversation (and when was the last time anyone used MSN?) and I was being silly, making up stories because I was teasing him about something and didn’t want to give him the answer he wanted to hear to a question. I was making up stories about aliens and time travel and I don’t even remember what else, and M. said something about how I was actually kind of good at thinking fast and making up what was obviously a story, I should write. I just remember telling him that I used to write a lot, but it’s been a long time.

Technically, I guess I have the tools, grammatically, etc., I’ve just been trained to think in one way for so long it kind of boggles my mind to hear there are journalists turned writers; even some of the people I went to school with talk about (or in one case, have) writing a book.

And writing fiction isn’t like writing an article. When I’m working on something, I have all the pieces in front of me, it’s just a matter of putting them together. Writing fiction I think is very different, in that unexpected things can happen. The friend who has done NaNoWriMo before and loves to tell horror stories about writing in general (he’s an English major) plans everything out beforehand, so I guess he knows what he’s working with in the same way I know what I’m working with when I’m writing an article, but I don’t see fiction that way.

It’s hard to explain how I write an article, now that I’ve started down this path. It just seems that everything logically fits together when I start writing, though I don’t usually know how it’s going to end when I start. Well, usually. Sometimes I know how I want to get to the end, and sometimes it takes me three or four tries before I actually get some copy that has a good flow to it.

Hm. Apparently I did have a couple of things to say tonight.

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