I dislike people who don’t do what they say they will. It’s one of my biggest pet-peeves. This extends further than just the typical chores my partner suggests he might do on a weekend that remain undone for another week, a month – sometimes more. The distaste for such people actually becomes stronger the larger the goal. I hate the thought of someone saying that they plan to walk coast to coast, learn to be a mechanic or become a local MP and then NOT do it. I don’t mean fail at it, I mean put in no effort whatsoever in trying to achieve said goal. It makes me believe they have only said it to impress or reassure themselves that they aren’t wasting their lives. And the more times it is said I often find the less effort is put in to accomplish it.
Unfortunately I appear to have become one of these people. Not so much that I’ve begun to hate myself, but enough that I’m starting to wonder if I really mean what I say when I tell people I want to be a published author. I’ve been writing/editing the same novel on and off for almost five years. And it’s still not even half way ready to share with the world. It is beginning to seem that I like the sound of my idea more than I like the actual work involved in achieving it. And I don’t want that to be true. This isn’t the type of person I pride myself on being.
Now, I could offer up a whole host of
excuses reasons for why it’s taken me this long to make it this far: I have a debilitating condition (which I am mostly recovered from); I’ve been concentrating on refining my craft (hasn’t everyone? Isn’t this a life-long commitment?); I’ve been working on other things (another two novels and short stories – most of which isn’t ready to share with the world either); I’ve been busy….(blah, blah, blah). We all have hurdles to overcome and many of us succeed in balancing life with a desire to write and be published. If it really was so difficult then we wouldn’t have hundreds of thousands of books to potentially read.
So I have to ask myself: what’s stopping me?
Rather than beat myself up over sliding into the fickle, questionable nature of a person who likes to talk about doing things, but never actually does them, I need to figure out what the barriers are that might prevent me from acting on my words. Take that list of
excuses *ahem* reasons above; they might all be valid explanations as to why I’ve stalled on progress. But, I can tell you right now that they’re not the truth about why I haven’t got a finished novel on my hands. Want to know the real reason?
I got lazy.
(the incorrect nature of this very sentence is further demonstration of my writing lethargy)
That’s it. I dropped the ball. I’ve been procrastinating, getting distracted by worthless things instead of practising the one proven technique guaranteed to produce results: hard work. But “dreams don’t work unless you do“. I’ve had this quote stuck up on my notice board for a little while now, and though I’ve been fooling myself that I have been working hard I’ve realised recently that I’ve not been as committed or dedicated as I could be. I’ve lost sight of what I could have if only I carried on working. What is stopping me from working hard is the lack of vision I have.
I used to day-dream about what it would be like to see my name in print, for people to enjoy reading the words I had written. What fuelled me was the desire I had to hear people talk about my stories and the pleasure they got from reading them. I have been lucky enough to receive some of this thanks to the performance of my piece, The Memorial Tree. Not only that, but I recently got some external validation that my stories were worth sharing when I discovered that a well-known UK magazine was interested in publishing my work and were willing to pay me for it! (more on this in March)
So, in addition to laziness, what else is stopping me? Complacency. I got a taste of what I’ve been hungry for and it satisfied enough of me to trick me into a false sense of security. But, ultimately, this isn’t what I want. I want to see my novel – this novel, the one I’ve been working on for so long – out there in the world, because I believe it could be a good book; if I didn’t believe this then I wouldn’t have invested so long into crafting it.
Therefore I need a plan of action to get me out of this rut: to make sure I do those things I say I want. What better way than to publicly announce my intentions and to ask those that support me to cheer me on, push me when I need it and hold me accountable to my goals? I’m trusting you, readers, to do this for me in the hopes of one day seeing that I’m true to my word.
I hereby commit to completing the current revision of That Which is Left is Lost by April 1st 2015 (in time to take part in Camp NaNo to work on some new material).
This will mean a schedule of completing a minimum of two scenes per writing day (days I’m not working or currently have plans).
This plan is do-able. Two scenes a day is achievable, even considering the major rewrites I have to do for the latter half of the novel. I’ve built in a couple of half-day buffers, so that if something comes up I still have a chance at making the deadline. This is it. I can do this.