Monday, November 8, 2010

Accomplishing and Underachieving.

We are in Week 2 of NaNoWriMo and I've kept close to my goals so far. To hit 50K by the end of the month, you have to average 1667 words a day. I set a stretch goal for myself- 2000 words/day- so I could take off Thanksgiving, and give myself a cushion. I'm a little behind today- Kate goal was to have 14K written yesterday, and I had 12,616 because of stuff that needed to get done in the morning, a long work day, then my odd desire to sleep. So I'm going to need to haul today to get to 16K, but I think it's feasible, as long as I ignore MG and just write a lot of makeout and sex scenes, which seem to move me along faster. Just kidding. I mean about the sex part. I haven't gotten to that part of the story yet. I will ignore MG however. I'm teaching her independence. Kidding again.

It's weird for me, to write to a word count. Generally, my expectation is two pages, single-spaced. Or finishing a scene. I don't like to deal with numbers, because I feel they're intimidating. I don't want to think I haven't done anything significant just because I haven't churned out a certain amount. Achievement to me is about consistency and dedication. But I entered NaNo as a challenge to myself and so now I'm doing the numbers thing.

I follow a lot of writers on Twitter. I enjoy reading about their journeys because, although there may be a million writers out there, I don't know many personally- certainly none in my (tiny) circle of friends- and it can be very isolating to write. I'm locked in my head almost all of the time, and when I'm out with other people, I find it difficult to disassociate from what I'm working on at the time in order to make conversation. At least conversation that isn't my writing. Which, let's be honest, most people don't want to hear about. It's been great for me to hear that other writers share my struggles. On the flip side, it becomes isolating again when I see these writers having successes that I don't.

Many of the writers I follow are participating in NaNo and are killing word count. A few have already achieved 25K. They're tearing through their novels. Seeing their progress makes me feel discouraged. I'll admit it. Because there's no way I can write that fast. Really. I mean, sometimes I have a sprinter day, where I write a ton, but it's unusual. I know this about myself, which is why I set a SMART goal for myself in the first place. SMART, for those of you who don't know is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely. (Eve- you are not allowed to make fun of me, btw.) But even though I'm on target and not overwhelmed, I can't help but think I'm underachieving. Or am a lesser writer because I'm not super speedy.

I do this in other arenas as well. I run or workout every day. Every day. Because it's important for my body and spirit to have that release. I do the elliptical for 37 minutes (do not ask me why that specific time- I will never tell you) or run 2 miles. Any more than that and I get bored. Or tired. Or my lungs want to explode. I should feel glad that I accomplish what I do. And I do, until I hear about my runner friends participating in 5Ks or marathons, or even working out for an hour or more, and then I feel like a lazybone.

I know it's important not to compare yourself to other people. We're all different. Sure. True. But I'm pretty sure we all do anyway. We compare good and bad. Because even as I write that I allow myself to be discouraged by other peoples' successes, I also just told you my specific successes. And maybe you're impressed that I write 2000 words a day. Or run 2 miles. And maybe I'm proud of it too. Proud and embarrassed at once.

Listening to: Death Cab For Cutie- all of it.

xo. kb.

1 comment:

  1. Reading what I just posted, I feel very much Mindy Gooch or Patty Berglund and am hating myself and wanting to die a little for being so absorbed and self-important. I'll leave the post up just so you can know what an asshole I am.