37, day 20.

I have used the word “writing” seven hundred and seventy-seven times in my writing journal. So I am retiring it. The word, not the journal.

It might seem silly to say that I will retire a word and then use it twice in the opening sentence of this blog post. It is silly. I’m a silly guy. But I am not retiring it out of my working vocabulary. That would be ridiculous. I am doing a lot of writing. I need the word to talk about it. As awesome as it would be in ten years to provide proof that I had not used the word “writing” in a decade, that takes more than I have in me. No, I am specifically retiring it from my writing journal.

Why is this significant? My writing journal is the file in which I just go to town. I don’t censor or edit anything I write in it. I don’t have to stay on topic. This particular file started in 2011. It is currently at 158,000 words. 58,000 of them are from the last two and a half months. Even without including all of the stories, essays, and blog posts which are not included in that 58,000, this is the most productive period of my life with regards to writing. I have been in love with writing my whole life. Now I am actually doing it. More than anything else, it is because of that writing journal. I have some serious support from friends and loved ones on this whole writing thing. But that journal is my weapon. It is my life-restoring health potion. It is my familiar, who makes snarky comments whenever I go into a dungeon. It’s a D&D magic item of some sort, apparently. I haven’t figured out which.

Every day I sit down to write in that journal. Just about every day I start it nearly the same way. I say something like, “Writing time!” Or, “I am starting my writing two minutes early, woo!” I have a paralyzing fear of being derivative, even of myself. My journal is the one place where I can let go of all of that. I can write whatever spews out of me, and not worry about pleasing anyone. Not even that hyper-critical originality-obsessed bastard who lives inside of me. I think he lives in my left foot, but every time I think I’ve found him he uproots and moves somewhere else. But I’ll get him. I’ll get him.

The point is that I don’t have to worry about things like being derivative inside my writing journal. It is all mine. As long as I never talk about it to anyone, then there’s no problem. Who is going to know?


On this particular day I once again followed my standard opening with its standard follow-up: a commentary on the fact that I always start my writing the same way. I do not know why I do this. Perhaps it’s a holdover from back when I struggled to complete my self-imposed 500 words a day writing assignment. I was mining for words. The important thing is that it doesn’t matter why I do this. There is no one to judge me but myself, and I’m too busy writing. About others. And how I judge them.

Today, it struck me that I use the word “writing” an awful lot. I did a search for how many times it showed up in that document. It was 777 times. I knew it was an omen. It was an omen for the same reason every omen in the history of humanity has been an omen. Someone decided it was. In this case that someone was me. There is only one explanation for this:

Unfathomable synchronicity.

I started that journal to develop my writing, which is as close to a true, single passion as this fickle and chaotic brain of mine allows me. Six weeks ago, I started a blog to assist in that development. I named it “Stealing All the Sevens,” for complex and nuanced reasons that humankind may never truly understand, because I was sleep deprived that day and I don’t entirely remember them. Today, of all days, I decided to search my journal for the word “writing.” I turned up a result that was all sevens. In the neo-gematria that I just invented by weaving the Essence of Truth with the whimsy of Unfettered Imagination, 777 = Writing. Liber 777 was probably intended to predict this exact moment.

I take it as a sign. So I am retiring the word “writing” from my writing journal. I will still write about it, of course. But I won’t use the word in there, ever again, until I get another sign.

I figure it’ll take three days for me to find one. I really like that word.


2 thoughts on “777

  1. As an editor, I frequently have to tell our contributors, You’ve plagiarised. However, per policy, we’re not supposed to use that word so I find creative ways to convey that same meaning. The content is still “plagiarised.” And so, though I commend you on your decision, I would suggest you not ban the word entirely, as sometimes, that word is the perfect descriptor of what you want to convey. All that serious business aside, I found your post both amusing and inspiring. 58,000 is a lot! I must borrow some of that disciple from you.

    • That’s definitely a good point. It’s all about the benefits to creativity and self discipline brought about by constraint vs. the advantages of having all possibilities open to you.

      Yes, 58,000 is a lot and it blows my mind! A lot of that wasn’t great, but I get a lot of satisfaction from putting words onto the page.

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