This line from Galaxy Quest is one I think of a lot when I’m facing challenges. It’s a great movie, not only because of Alan Rickman (DUH), but because this sentiment is one that helps me put one foot in front of the other (metaphorical or otherwise) when I’m really in the middle of a slog that makes me want to give up.
I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, both as applies to writing and to running.
On the running front, I am pausing in C25k until later in September when the weather is cooler and instead doing some intervals of my own design. 5 minutes of running with 1 minute of walking x 4. By the last interval I was wheezing and gasping like some kind of asthmatic, and I got through by mentally running my brain through all my favorite inspirational movie speeches.
So really, this went something like “Declare this, our Independence Day! For Rohan! For Frodo! We are SPARTA!”
Hey, it got me up the last hill.
I have a REALLY frigging hard time accepting my own limitations.
Over the last 3 years, since I started tracking my word count and productivity, I have repeatedly done the math to sort out “if I wrote this many words on this many days a year, I should be able to write this many words in a year, which translates into this, this, and this.” Sometimes being a data geek is a really dangerous thing.
It took me 2 years to accept that I’m not going to write every day, and to revise my goal to writing some percentage out of each week or month. These days I’m aiming for 20 days out of 30.
I joined up the WIP500 Challenge this year, a challenge that aims at 500 words a day, which by the end of the year, means we should have written 183k. Only 500 words a day. That usually feel so doable to me. But I’m not gonna make it this year. Too much life stuff, too much EDJ interference. And it just pisses me off. I had a royal pity party about it this weekend. Then I sat down and forced myself through the logic.
In 2010, I wrote 103.5k, which worked out to 2 novellas and some other stuff.
In 2011, I wrote 126k, which worked out to a full novel and a short story, and some other stuff.
This year, I am on target to end the year somewhere in the neighborhood of 135k, which is, again, going to work out to a full novel and a short story, and some other stuff.
It’s not like I’m backsliding. Every year I’ve increased my word count. I’m accomplishing about the same this year as I did last. It’s just not as much as I want. In my mind, I feel like I should be able to write 2 books a year. But the evidence just doesn’t support that, not while I’m working more than full time.
So I’m really trying to shift my expectations of myself and what I REALISTICALLY can do. I know I can write a novel and a short story in a year. So a more REALISTIC goal to stretch myself is a novel and a novella.
I’m not what you could call happy about this. I have exponentially more ideas than time in which to execute them. But maybe setting this reasonable goal will save me some angsting and crazy. Because, really, I live in a house with dogs. Angst kitties are not welcome.
Never give up. Never surrender.