Homework

At 3 a.m. every day, a new word prompt is posted for 501Words. Since I am often awake then, I check Twitter, make a mental note of the word, and try to go back to sleep. I do not always succeed.

At about 5:30 a.m. every day I am up. I set my timer for 30 minutes and write my response to the prompt. Sometimes I go over 501 words, but the point is to write at least that many.

Now I’ve started doing the Plinky prompts – a new WordPress thing. Shorter than 501 words, but still — another obligation.

I am such a good little student.

Yes, I was the one who always handed in homework on time. I didn’t have to study for quizzes and tests because I always paid attention. I am the kind of person who grows up to be a teacher because “School is fun!”

Once I started teaching, I realized how atypical I am. Half of my students don’t do homework. If they study for a quiz, it’s in the few minutes while I’m taking attendance, getting ready to pass them out. Real students don’t feel guilty when they forget their homework. Conclusion: I am not a real person. I am a figment of some teacher’s imagination. “Unique” might be a good thing, but being “weird” is generally what it means.

I haven’t outgrown my sense of duty. Having made these bloggy obligations, I would no sooner abandon them than I would forget to do my homework.

Who’s keeping track? Nobody.

Then why do I do it? Why not be like everyone else – pay my taxes at the last minute, stop writing thank-you notes, and abandon my blog in cyberspace?

Because I like discipline. I enjoy the challenge. To sit down to a project — a novel I’ve been working on since November — doesn’t stir my creative juices as these little daily prompts do. It’s a good thing, I think. If I didn’t do this every day, I would only write what I know best – fantasy. And I would spend a great deal of time stuck in the ditch, spinning my wheels.

It’s in this daily discipline that I focus my writing, cut ruthlessly, consider the audience — all things that writers need to learn. I am a novice, to be sure. But maybe somebody will give me a gold star for trying.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Stewart
    Jul 14, 2010 @ 22:29:23

    Discipline is a good thing. I need more of it myself.

    Speaking of, how is Danae? (Or did I misremember the name…)

    Reply

    • escher dax
      Jul 14, 2010 @ 22:58:27

      Danae is stuck in a time warp or something. I found myself getting tired of her voice. Instead I’ve been working on my Nano. My main project, however, is a book of stories I’m writing in Latin.
      One day, however, I will resurrect Danae!

      Reply

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