Fun and Failure

Anyone who knows me at all will say that my defining characteristic is my positive, upbeat attitude. It’s infectious, even. I don’t ask “can I?” I ask “I can!”

So where a lesser man would look at my situation — it’s November 28th and I’ve only written just over 12,000 words of my 50,000 word novel — and see abject, crushing failure, I see it as empowering. I’ve discovered my true strength, and that is procrastination. I always knew I had what it takes to put off doing real work. But I’ve had years of experience at that. This was a purely personal goal for my own self-improvement, and not only did I manage to do everything but work on that personal goal, but I put it off spectacularly.

Last week, for instance, I had the whole Thanksgiving break off without ever leaving the folks’ house. And a big chunk of three hours every night when everyone else had gone to bed and I was still awake. Perfect novel writing time — for the weak. I showed determination instead, and watched hours and hours of “Arrested Development” on DVD. Two five-hour plane flights? I read two Terry Pratchett books.

Now I can finish the book if I write 19,000 words a day for the next two days. That’s not going to happen. I like to stay optimistic, but there are limits. So I’m laying down new ground rules. I’m going to set a goal of hitting the 20,000 word mark by the end of NaNoWriMo. It could happen. Then I’m setting up a deadline of January 1st to have the thing finished for reals. Not 50,000 words, but finished — could be more. (The “official” NaNoWriMo guidelines say to step away from the thing at around 50,000 words, even if you have to contract the ending to finish around that limit.)

And congrats to j00 and seppopolous who’ve already finished and gotten their purple bars! I’m hoping I get a chance to read them. If When I finish with my own.