1000K Words Challenge

Posted by Jess
For some reason, I suffered from a huge writing funk last week. I wouldn't have called it writer's block. It was more like I was trapped in an entanglement of chicken wire, and my brain lost all ability to function. Not just on my story, but on any kind of writing in general. Even my text messages felt like a battle. (Jet Lag may have been the culprit, however results are inconclusive.)

No matter how many ideas came into my head, I just couldn't transfer them into written words. And then Mark Galarrita saved the day! (I told him I was going to write a post about this. He thought I was joking. =D )

Mark and I met at a writer's coffee shop on Saturday, and he challenged me to a duel. Whoever writes the most words in an hour wins. The goal is to breach a thousand. The loser must buy the victor a book. 

Despite my writing ailment, I accepted this challenge because let's face it, I never say no to a free book ( ;-D ). So I set up my laptop across the table from his, and he started the timer. Go!

For fifteen minutes straight I typed absolutely nothing. Well, that's not true. I had, "What are you doing?" written at the top of the page. I'm pretty sure it was a message to myself.

"38 minutes," Mark said. Ahh!
We compared word counts. He already had over 700 words! My fingertips grazed over the keyboard, itching to press one of the black buttons. Any of the black buttons. Just write something Jess! I told myself.

And then several minutes later, something beautiful happened. I started typing. It was a mess, but it was just the mess I needed to break out of my funk.

"15 minutes," Mark said. My fingers rushed over the keys, but I was still no where close to his 700. Not to mention I was taking breaks to talk to him. Sitting across the table from an interesting person is like Kryptonite when I'm trying to get work done.

Tap! Tap! Tap! My fingers raced over the keys, while my brain tried to hold down the conversation at the same time. The tiny numbers at the bottom of my page ticked higher and higher with every stroke. I can do this! I got this! The book is miiineeeee!

Aaaaaaaand, I lost. I ended up with just under 500 words. But inside I was jumping for joy. I can write again! My heart shouted. "Yea, I know. I'm the one who did it stupid," my brain shouted back. It was great!

We ended up at a thrift store that was selling 2 books for $1 on the sidewalk. Yes, 2 for $1! I couldn't believe it. There was a nice elderly man sitting across from the book table. He was the money collector, and he was very wise.

"I'll give you 2 more books for free if you can answer this riddle," the wise man said to me. "There are 12 birds sitting on a line. If I shoot one, how many are left?" 

Do you know the answer? Post your guess in the comments below. 

After a few moments of pondering and visualizing the scenario, I found the right answer. And we got two free books! Mark gave the man a dollar anyway. The thrift store donates its proceeds to the AIDS movement. If you're ever in Philly, you should definitely check it out: Philly AIDS Thrift. Also if you want to read some original short stories and fiction, I suggest you check out Mark's page! You wont be disappointed.

So the moral of this story is, next time your brain is trapped in writer's chicken wire, call a friend and challenge them to duel! If anything, at least you'll get a free book. 

BTW, even though I lost, Mark bought two of my books for me, and I surprised him with one he'd been looking at. It was a good day to be a writer!

p.s. We found Pope Francrex! <3

Until next time,

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