Jun 082013

Fountain Pen Nib beige w creditI heard ‘500 words’ and thought ‘ok’, I think?

The first writing assignment of sorts for the creative writing group I just joined. The first meeting was great – I didn’t have to do any writing. But that’s why I joined, right? To write.

500; half a kilometer, half a litre…I woke up from a deep sleep with this rolling through my head…it sounded easy. It’s only one number. 500. Indy 500, 500 dalmations…no wait, that was 100 (or was it 101?) So I Googled  it.  ‘What’s the significance of the number 500’? Maybe there would be something in the search results that would be interesting and inspire me with something to write about.

It was becoming apparent fairly quickly to me that ‘500 words’ maybe wasn’t so easy. And that I was stuck on the word, or rather, number 500. 500, 500, 500. How many pages is that? One, maybe two? Or is it three or four. What if I double space? Wait, no, the assignment was not for two pages of writing like I so often remember back in school. You could double space and only write half as much. What am I going to write about?

As I waft in and out of a great slumber, I let my mind wander. Why do I find writing so scary? The fear is in direct opposition to my desire. This has been on my mind a lot lately, so I joined the writing group. I was just recently talking with someone about this. That I remember as a child being able to communicate everything as a creative expression. If I was happy, I wrote poetry. If I was sad, I sang a song. If I was reflective, I drew. Almost everything I felt seemed to find its way into a creative process. Or maybe rather, find its way out.

But somewhere along the line it seems I had learned that my writing wasn’t pretty enough, I was be seen, not heard and my colouring didn’t stay within the lines,. I don’t know if it’s like this for all children – the desire and capacity to express themselves so freely and artistically. Or if it’s only some of us that become victim to judgment and believing our unique voices are not worthy of expression. But we still have that desire.

I jump out of bed, thinking I better just jump in. I will write about the number 500. I will write about my struggle with writing. Or, I’ll write about my struggle to start and creativity in general. Whichever I choose, I just know I need to start.  And so here it is…my first writing assignment of 500 words. It didn’t end up being a single page, or two or three.  I could force it if I manipulate the spacing and the margins, but I decided to leave well enough alone and leave it as it. I turned on the word counter and guess what? There are exactly 500 words.