So I’ve had a very busy few weeks, and for once, it wasn’t because of some external factor like housework or stress. No, this time, I’ve actually been busy… writing!
That might not seem particularly surprising. I mean, it is what I’m supposed to be doing! But very rarely do things actually happen like they’re supposed to. And even more rarely do I let a week go by without allowing something to get in my way.
So as of writing this post on Tuesday, my current book-in-progress has now reached 43400 words, with 5 finished chapters. That means it has far surpassed the other idea which I had made the most progress on at the time, somewhere in the 20,000s.
And I definitely agree that it’s not the word count that matters really, they’re just numbers after all. But it’s the fact that every increase of those numbers is a little step closer to actually achieving something. In all my life, I’ve never had the guts to see a project through, till now.
I don’t want to count my chickens (or chapters) before they’ve hatched; the book still isn’t finished yet. But! Going by my plan for the story and chapters, I can estimate that I’m about halfway finished. That’s right. Halfway! 50%! 1/2!
Now, it is a rough estimate, plans can change of course. For all I know, some future parts might end up needing more detail and becoming longer, or some might be a lot shorter than I imagined. But I am halfway through the story, I can say that much for certain, and the longest segments are all already written.
I don’t want to jinx myself, because being halfway finished means I still of course have a lot to do, and celebrating early seems like tempting fate. But I’ve never been so close before to finishing anything. And I really do mean anything. I didn’t even finish school. About the only thing I’ve ever managed to see all the way through was my marriage ceremony!
It took me a long time to figure out why, but making actual progress in something allowed me to see why for so long, I hadn’t been able to. I’m a self-saboteur.
When I was young, I sometimes felt like wanting to paint. I’d think of a pretty picture, or take one with my camera, get out all the materials, sit down, and then suddenly something would come up. Maybe dinner would be ready soon, or maybe I suddenly remembered I had studying to do.
In reality, I didn’t. (Seriously, I never studied.) It was all just an excuse not to do the things I cared about, not to even try. Because what’s the point in trying when you believe you’re terrible at everything? That you’re going to fail, your painting will suck, your dancing will look silly, your outfit is ridiculous, or now, that my book will be embarrassing.
The only reason I’ve been able to make it halfway through this book is because I started to recognise this destructive behaviour. Most of the things I’ve complained about on this blog that have got in the way of my writing, have just been me self-sabotaging. Yes, Angry Birds, TV, and phone scrolling are addictive, but I was the one that was choosing to waste my time on these things instead of writing. Not because I was truly desperate to see what the next offended tweeter was mad about now, but because it was just a way to not even have to try.
You can’t fail if you don’t try, but you also can’t succeed either. As a lover of ‘bad’ movies, I should probably have realised this sooner. The people that try their very best with 100% sincerity, being vulnerable by putting their all into a project no matter how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ it turns out, are the people that make legendary things. (Yes, I am talking about The Room) I understand now, that I’d much rather ‘fail’ spectacularly, but have actually tried, than sat around doing nothing because I didn’t want people to laugh at me.
Once I started to understand my behaviour, I was able to change it. Every time I finished a paragraph, and felt my hand twitch to click onto some YouTube video or whatever, I thought about why I had that impulse, and suddenly procrastinating didn’t seem so appealing any more. I was cheating myself out of progress, but now, I’ve managed to write more than I ever have in my entire life. To get closer to a finish line than I ever have before.
Of course, sometimes things do happen that are out of our control, that can’t be helped, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for needing a break. But maybe, if you’re anything like me, other times things aren’t so bad after all, and we just need to convince ourselves to try, even if it is scary.
So this week I went on the train for the first time in ages, to look for some charity shops. I usually take the bus because the train is too expensive, but I felt like changing things up. I’m glad I did, because the view from the train journey is lovely.
Not so lovely however, is the station itself, which is in desperate need of a clean! Amongst the grime though, I spotted a little silhouette having fun on the roof…
Thank you very much for reading!