I try to stick to my 1,000 word a day (see “Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott) writing regime. Ideas for new epigrams go into my Waste Book document. I add and delete from the WB every day. At the moment it is 161 pages and 49,491 words. That might seem excessive for someone who writes books of epigrams that average about a dozen words each, but it’s a process of distillation — think of an eighteen -wheeler loaded with Iowa corn that ends up as a case of Kentucky straight bourbon on its way to my liver. Anything like a megillah such as this resides in a document called Crimes Of Capitalism - today COC is 60 pages and 22,871 words. And of course like any scribbler I keep a journal. The current one is Volume 62, which I began in March. That has 93 pages and 39,914 words. Checking Volume 61 I see that from 1/1/13 until I began the next section in March I wrote 57 pages and 23,244 words.
All this is roughly 130,000 words in play, which might seem like a lot, but consider that 1,000 words a day is 365,000 words a year. Life gets in the way — but also provides infinite material. Yesterday I went to repair the grandkid’s treehouse and fell down hard, wrenching my back. Today I soaked in a hot bath for a long while, and once again hired Raymond to do the work, then cooked dinner for 18 adults and kids, family and friends. All that took up a bunch of time, but also gave me much to write about today. I also write an erratic number of words in letters to the editor, emails to people I stay in touch with, comments on blogs, my own blogging, etc. I have no idea how many words are produced this way.
One of my favorite ways to write is parked by the bay, bottle of water, notebook, turn off the phone and radio. Only there is it possible to be uninterrupted for as long as I wish. The car has heat in winter, AC in summer, it’s more comfortable than our house. I can sit in the car when it’s storming, when the wind is howling, perfectly comfortable. I hate driving, but I love sitting and writing in the aptly named Odyssey minivan. If my mind is empty I’ll watch a heron hunting frogs in the wetlands or a huge container ship inch by on its way to Sacramento. - Michael Lipsey