I failed my first year-long challenge in 2012. I set a goal of writing a novella every month, which was ambitious but not out of the realm of possibility. I completed January and February and March without problem. April, I believe, might have been a few days late, but the goal was never one a month, so that didn’t matter. It also didn’t matter that June’s attempt was a late-started and a short-finisher. It wasn’t a novella. Midway through July, I was beginning to fall behind.
Then I was slammed in the chest with a 2×4 iron bar, and I was poisoned by the rust it left on me. When I finally got back on my feet, it was already August, and I didn’t have the strength to continue.
The iron bar was a heart attack. The rust was diabetes. Life, as I knew it, had changed dramatically and completely.
But life continues. (And for the record: I’m recovering nicely.)
I’m ever-ambitious, and a few ideas suggested themselves for my 2013 year-long project. Eventually, a few melded together into what is now InkStains: I will write something every day (with as many as 3 free days a month, should I need them). It will be a complete story, though the story can be fiction or nonfiction. It might be an essay, an article, a poem, a review, even a fragment of something else, so long as the thought is a complete one.
I will write these stories by hand. In order to facilitate that requirement, I’ve acquired a few unlined Moleskines and an inexpensive Cross fountain pen; the particular tools may change as I go.
And I will document the challenge. This means I’ll be writing, online, on my website, about the stories I’ve written. Some days, I may post the story itself. Other days, I may write about the process, or about where I am, or about how the tactile nature of handwriting affects the words and phrases. I may post pictures of some of the handwritten bits. Further, I may not post things daily. I may cover several days at once, or summarize a week at a time. I may make three or four postings about a single day’s story. I may go on to sell these stories, or place them elsewhere, or do nothing with them at all.
I understand that what I envision at the start of this project may change drastically over the course of the year; but the primary purpose is two-fold: to write, and to write by hand.
The 2013 InkStains project gives you a unique chance to participate with me. I challenge you to set your own schedule (maybe give yourself three free days every week, or write only once a week, whatever your schedule and temperament will permit) and join me on this adventure. It’s not a race.Â I’m offering no rewards for finishing, and no punishment for not.
I suggest you pick up your own Moleskine, or a composition notebook, of whatever size seems to work best for you. And let me know about it. Keep me updated. Tell me what you learn about yourself, about the words, and about the ink.