yours, tiramisu

⭐ looking back on 100k words

Kayla notified me a few weeks ago that I was approaching 200 posts on this blog, and I hit that milestone a few days ago! This is my 203rd (you can find how to check here). I haven't been keeping a running count of how many words I've written in these posts, and I'm too shitty of a programmer to figure out how to count them across the markdown files in all my folders, but I'm going to conservatively estimate an average of 500+ words per post1. With this estimation I have 200 posts of 500 words each which makes... 100,000 words written. (Update: I ran a script my friend wrote and I'm actually up to 131,498 words already!)

In my writing I frequently reference Visa, whose mission to write 1,000 wordvomits of 1,000 words each inspired me to start this blog. Naturally, he has a post reflecting on the 100,000 word milestone, which I've been turning over in my head recently.

He wrote this in an article of writerly advice:

I recommend that you measure your progress as a writer by sheer volume of output. You WILL be a different writer at the 100,000 and 1,000,000 word marks respectively. Hell, you’ll be a totally different person.

And don’t try to write well. Just write. Why? Because you can’t write well before you know what good writing is. And you can’t know what good writing is until you’ve done a lot of reading and writing.

So if you want to write well, you have to let go of the perfectionistic death wish of trying to write well.

Instead, accept in advance that a lot of it will suck. Embrace the suck. Make love to the suck. Don’t try to avoid it or outsmart it. Acknowledge it, face it, and get used to it. Day after day after day.

Although I don't know if I would call myself a better writer now (at least technically, because I don't edit my work much), I do think I've outgrown much of the self-consciousness that hindered me before. I feel far less friction in the writing process now after so many posts, even though I don't force myself to adhere to any schedule or rules. Now I feel comfortable sitting down to write even when I have nothing in particular I want to talk about. I'm worrying less about how I sound and focusing more on faithfully reproducing what I'm thinking & feeling. The words flow more easily like water from an open faucet (sometimes a fire hydrant), and it feels like magic that I can sit here and spin thousands of words without even straining myself.

My writing style hasn't changed noticeably from what it was last year, but I do feel like my second 100 posts are significantly better than the first 100 (what do you think?). My posts are now longer, flow better, and contain more nuanced thoughts. And my expectations for which posts deserve a ⭐ in their title are far higher than they used to be.

By writing so much I've also realized that I'm hardly scratching the surface of all the things I could write about. In my post yesterday a voice came out in my writing that I'd not put to paper before, a snarky one that makes itself heard in my head, and I want to explore all these different voices inside me—small child Misu, euphorically happy Misu, manically depressed Misu—to get a better picture of what the inside of my head looks like. I'd like to also try my hand at different styles of writing, like Eve does so well with poetry and prose. Perhaps above all, I'm realizing that there are so many memories I haven't plumbed yet, places and people and things I've loved and lost. I want to tell all my stories here before I have to return this gift.

I've also noticed that in spite of the small readership of my blog, my writing seems to have had a positive influence on some people. Lili has cited me as the inspiration for her blog, and in my humble opinion she's now one of the stars of Bear now! It's incredible to see writers far better than me crosslink my posts and add their own thoughts. I always think about Visa's advice to pay it forward, and this is my way of repaying him for his advice, by writing and being useful to others. Isn't that a wonderful thing?

I do regret one thing about this blogging journey; I wish I hadn't shared my blog so widely. I'm acutely aware now of the people that know this place exists, and that knowledge muzzles me. I don't want to anger, hurt, or disappoint anyone, and just the possibility of their attention inhibits me from saying exactly how I'm feeling or trying new things. I should have waited until my blog took shape before deciding who to share it with, because how do you know what you will want to say until you've actually written it?

So I guess that's my advice from my first 100,000 words:

  1. Write as much as you can.
  2. Always try new things.
  3. Be careful who you show your writing to.

  1. Many of my posts are longer than that, and a few aren't my own writing (me sharing photos or poems I like), so it probably balances out in the end.

#advice #english #journal #life #wordvomit #writing