365 started as a resolution for 2013: I wanted to write a short story every single day of the year that would be 365 words long. The purpose of this was not to create anything wonderful (though that would have been a happy accident) – I wanted to have the discipline of seeing if I could write every single day.
The year began well; I wrote pretty much every day of Jan, Feb, March when I was still freelancing and my days were a lot more fluid. Things began to slip in May when life was busier – I had a new job and was house hunting and there were the lines of other things that fill up the mind and the day.
Summer picked up as did autumn but there were the inevitable weeks when I didn’t do anything and I felt frustrated, deflated.
Looking back over the year and through my notebooks I’d estimate that I have written about two-thirds of the 365 days and though it’s far from the full amount, it feels as if it has been a valuable experiment. I wish I’d recorded on the days I didn’t write why I hadn’t time to see if there was a pattern.
The way I see if is that if you get up and get ready then get on your bike and cycle to the office and eat your breakfast while you check your emails and the news. And then after work if you’re meeting a friend or you’re going out or meeting your boyfriend in the pub or you’re making dinner for your flatmate or you’re out running or in the pool – where in the day do you find time to write? Or perhaps, where in the day do you find the stillness to write? I’m 25, I live a full and active life that, in the most part, makes me happy and I’m stubborn in the way I wouldn’t abandon that for sitting in an ivory tower – if I could find one in this part of Finsbury Park…
But then – says the voice in my head, or my fingers on these keys – if we’re going down this route, when do you stop moaning about ‘never having the time’?
That’s what this exercise (let’s use this word, it’s kinder the ‘resolution’) was designed to test. It’s always been too easy to say I am too busy – but 365 has challenged that because even if every single day of a week has plans, there are still windows and pockets that can be found to do things in. We hosted a party on New Year’s Eve and I had to find a space in my bedroom – where Ruth and Claire were sharing legal gossip – to crouch on the floor and write the last day of the year.
Stop making excuses, I tell myself, just get on with it.
If anyone has any thought on any of the above, I’d love you to share them…