That title feels pretentious to me, at first thought, because I don’t wish to imply that I’m celebrating anything more than words. One year ago, I began RollingDoughnut.com with a simple paragraph:
This is my first entry. This will be immortalized forever as the first entry in which I say nothing important. Absolutely nothing.
I don’t claim anything more than the words. There were no giant leaps in literature, no spectacular, life-altering speeches. Not even brilliant words, most of them. Just words. But I wrote 83,203 of them in the last 366 days.
What those words have done, though, is more important. They’ve taught me how to write. They haven’t completed my education, as if that’s possible. I can’t foresee a day in which words are effortless, but I can imagine one in which the struggle to string them together is joy. I’ve inched closer to that ideal thanks to the words posted for nothing more than my desire to write.
My biggest surprise over the last year is how those words have also taught me what I believe, as well as helping me to discover new beliefs I didn’t know I possessed. I started RollingDoughnut.com to write. I didn’t know what I wanted to write about, but I knew I needed to join the parade of bloggers. As I’ve mentioned a few times, I want to be a professional writer but I caved to fear too many times in my past. I envisioned this blog as writing without a goal that could kick start me towards writing with a goal. I could post random details about my daily life and practice my narrative techniques, but I got bored with this idea before I started doing it regularly. I realized that my daily life isn’t that fascinating. Going to work and reading magazines is poor fodder for most narratives.
What RollingDoughnut.com has become is different and more interesting than that. My
ranting commentary on random events started in August with Escalators Are Not Hard To Use. I began to enjoy the ranting posts when I wrote my second, I Am Not Dennis Hopper. The words flowed easier because I cared about expressing my opinion. When writing, I’ve learned to chase the joy.
September was a wash because I was delirious from sleeplessness. I worked more than 300 hours that month, so my coherent thoughts declined rapidly until the return of Alias. I did enjoy a hurricane, though.
I only posted twice in October. For the first half of the month, I was using my stored vacation from September. The rest of the month I lacked the inclination because the desire to write hadn’t taken over.
It didn’t take over again in November. I participated in NaNoWriMo 2003, so that captured most of my writing energy. I was also un-staffed in my old job, so motivation to be productive was low. I was burnt out on thinking. And I caught the Tono in Las Vegas.
In December, I posted a few times about whatever was on my mind, from Kurt Vonnegut to the earthquake in Virginia. Then I went to Atlanta. As a lifelong Dale Murphy fan, I had to post about this. Reliving My Dale Murphy Childhood was the turning point of my RollingDoughnut.com motivation. I didn’t know if I could write a nostalgic travelogue. Trying was fun.
In January I discovered the beauty of skiing. I wrote what was supposed to be the complete recap, but it became part one of five. I took me more than a month to finish and ended at more than 8,700 words, but it was a great challenge.
In April I began to write about the 2004 Presidential Election. I got trapped in my bathroom again. I also wrote about Lemonade Stories, a film by Mary Mazzio about extraordinary entrepreneurs and their mothers. From that post, I received a copy of Lemonade Stories. After I watched it in May, I wrote my first movie review.
May also saw the beginnings of cicada infestation in the Washington, DC area. I discovered the evils of the cicada in my backyard and my refrigerator. Some of those cicadas may have eaten three commuters’ brains.
June was highlighted by “It’s not anymore the two-ply.” Despite having other posts, June didn’t need others to be complete. Thank you, Governor Schwarzenegger.
In July I had fun with Senator Allen. I also wrote my second movie review., which was considerable fun to write. And lest anyone forget, I celebrated my birthday. Ending July, I prepared for Vegas and my rendezvous with Wil Wheaton. When I returned in August, I wrote about it here, as well as meeting Flash Gordon.
Flash Gordon capped the year at 199 posts. Reminiscing has been fun for me because I’ve been able to see the changes and growth in my writing over the last year. If nothing else, I have a large body of words to remember. 83,203 words are enough to fill a novel.
I was hesitant before starting RollingDoughnut.com and didn’t know what to expect when I began writing blog entries. I recently discovered that the act of writing for its own sake can bring unexpected surprises. When I wrote my review of Lemon
ade Stories, I intended to alert as many people as possible to watch a worthy film. What I received was an outcome I never could’ve dreamed about: I was quoted in the film reviews section of the Lemonade Stories site, ABOVE the viewer feedback. My name doesn’t appear on a movie poster, but I’m quoted with writers from USA Today, NPR, The Boston Globe, and Fast Company.
One year ago, that would’ve seemed illogical, but there it is. And I realized that I like seeing my name in “print”. Not for my ego, because I could satisfy that with a vanity press. I like it in the same way that a carpenter likes his furniture. It’s not for recognition, money, or any other extraneous goal. I’m proud of my execution of the craft. For at least one moment I can call myself a writer and know that it’s true.