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I am out of patience with this trend of not getting any work done.
I wrote an okay YA SFF romance in 2016… and found myself completely unable to handle the overwhelming volume of revisions.
I set it aside to work on an erotic romance the next spring, as a low-stakes palette cleanser, but that one ended up with some Problematic elements, and I couldn’t even open the file without being suffocated with shame. After that, I couldn’t write anything. Feeling so awful, and guilty, and ashamed of something I’d really enjoyed writing was paralyzing. I carried my notebooks around, the edges of the pages getting dirty in my backpack without anything touching the inside. I barely even opened my files until this year.
I have had enough. This is ridiculous. Some of the stuff I wrote in that first draft was, ah, certainly Problematic, but it was not bad enough to justify putting myself on hold for two years.
I am cancelling feeling guilty about anything I write. It’s not helpful to anybody and it is extremely harmful to me.
To that end, I’ve put to myself a challenge.
So, to add context, I’ve made a lot of challenges for myself. I’ve failed most of them. I really, really want to do awesome stuff, so I try to do thinks like “Make a finished drawing every day using a dip pen (which I’ve never used before) for Inktober!” or “Use advent-calendar-style prompts to write a complete short story every day in the runup to your birthday!”
“Finished” is my downfall. “Complete” is a pipe dream. The very first day I do part of a drawing, part of a story, I’ve already failed my entire goal and am thus too discouraged to finish the challenge.
So uh… maybe don’t do that to myself, this time? Maybe construct a challenge with small goals, forgiving milestones, and catchup opportunities?
So I did.
Do you think 200,000 words before my next birthday is a reasonable goal? It comes out to about 550 words per day, which, if I remember my NaNoWriMo experiences correctly, is perfectly manageable.
(1667 is not, by the way. NaNoWriMo is grueling for me.)
It’d be neat if I finished something, but I’m not really focusing on that; small goals and all.
Instead, I’ve got twice-monthly check-ins and big-text Quarterly Goals that I get to fill in with pretty colors, and a nice space to put the titles of everything that I worked on.
(That part’s not really a piece of the challenge. I just really like lists.)