It’s hard to stick to a pledge to do something every day. Remember your New Year’s resolution? Maybe you swore to go to the gym, write in your journal, or even just (gulp) floss your teeth every day. Every. Single. Day.
How’s that working out for you?
David Michael Chandler, on the other hand, makes good on his promise to post a doodle and a story accompanying the drawing every day on his Tumblr entitled, appropriately enough, The Daily Doodles.
Chandler is an aspiring screenwriter in Los Angeles who explains his reasons for starting this blog on his About page:
Thinking I was becoming a dullard and weakening my overall creative muscles because all I did was focus on my current script, I decided a good mental exercise would be to do a Daily Doodle with a neato story attached to it every ding dong day. I set a time limit because I couldn’t afford to spend TOO long on these dumb Doodles (and I know myself, and I know I would keep tweaking and refining if I don’t got a time limit), and it’s a good way to just make yourself think and work.
Can’t argue with that.
The Daily Doodles features creative gems, such as this post from 1/25/2013 (it’s exactly the kind of depressing short story I personally adore):
“A Different Life”
The whirring of the ceiling fan blends into a silent soothing hum, as Kyle feels himself get lost in the hypnotic blades circling endlessly above.
The cool gentle air brushes his arms and face, but it doesn’t feel real… as if he’s not meant to be here, right now, in this life. An empty sensation creeps over him, one he has felt in the quiet moments of night, and he senses what could only be his soul hovering above his shell of a body.
Could he have had a different life? One without a job, three kids, and an understanding wife? To think of his life now, it doesn’t feel like his own… like he’s just a passenger on a train following tracks laid down long before he got here. He can’t even quite articulate completely what is tingling in the back of his brain, but it’s there.
He can see himself on an airplane, flying somewhere, anywhere, alone… but that doesn’t quite feel real either. It’s just another “this”.
And maybe that version of him on that airplane feels the same. Nothing changes.
Reality sucks back into his consciousness, as he hears his wife and kids playing in the hallway, their existence reminding him that he forgot to go to the grocery store for eggs and cereal.
Image Source: Doctor Hugo (Anton Giulio & Arturo Bragaglia, “Typist,“ 1911)
I used to have this boyfriend who would taunt me for calling myself a writer.
“How,” he asked, “can you call yourself a writer, when you never write?” He then proceeded to extoll the locutionary virtues of one of his best friends, a shady fellow who also aspired to be a writer and who was, in my humble opinion, not very good.
This guy was, to put it bluntly, a pretty shitty boyfriend.
But his criticism haunted me and actually pushed me down further into the Land of Idleness, because every time I thought of sitting down to write, his words would boom through my brain over a loudspeaker, so that all my formerly motivated little neurons stopped, looked up to the sky in dispair, then crumpled to the ground in rows, rocking back and forth in fetal positions, rendered absolutely useless to me creatively.
That was foolish of me, to let one voice of criticism so dramatically dampen my ferver for my art, for my heart’s one passion. I wish I could say that this was the only time I let someone else’s opinion of what or who I am alter my course, but unfortunately for the majority of my life, up until now, I have allowed other people’s opinions and judgements of me to dictate precisely who I am, regardless of my own burning desires or rational deductions.
What is it, to not care what other people think of you? I will never know what that is like, and I envy all those self-assured individuals who rock out neon printed leggings and who go on solo treks through the mountain ranges of Indonesia and who form their own start-up companies beginning with nothing at all. Who are you people, and how did you get to be so fantastic? More importantly, how can I be so wildly unhinged and confident and alive?
I hail from a very critical and condemning background (how a person with so fragile a sense of self-esteem survived film school is truly an as-yet-unsolved mystery), and I admit I still take a few minutes to cry in my car (and slam my fists into the steering wheel) whenever someone stands in judgement of the woman I am or the work that I put forth (or fail to put forth, as in the case with Mr. Oh-So-Wrong). But I’ve learned something valuable, which I will share with you:
The secret to defying the critics is simple. You just don’t stop.
In my case, that meant that I could not, cannot cease writing… Even if I kept receiving pleasantly-worded rejection letter after rejection letter to all of the blogs I submitted pieces to and the fellowships I applied for and the magazine internships I once dreamed of landing, I won just by continuing to obey the cells in my body that vibrated in anticipation of typing one word after another.
If I were to meet that ex now, I would be able to look him in the eye and say:
I write. I am a writer. I have written, I am writing, I will continue to write. I will bleed words from my veins until I am dry, and they may be disastrous, they may be laughable, they may be offensive - but they are, and they could be no other way, just as I can be no other me than the me I am.