Whatever it takes to finish things, finish. You will learn more from a glorious failure than you ever will from something you never finished.
“The rule of no realm is mine, neither of Gondor nor any other, great or small. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, those are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail of my task, though Gondor should perish, if anything passes through this night that can still grow fair or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I also am a steward. Did you not know?”
Gandalf to Denethor, Steward of Gondor, in The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
Earlier this month I wrote about my plan to finish the first draft of my WIP by the end of this month. Plan B was to not beat myself up if I didn’t get there.
Well, here we are at the end of the month, and the first draft is still incomplete. But here’s what I learned:
1) I am rubbish at estimating. Making up a novel’s worth of story is time-consuming, and so is writing it all down by hand.
I underestimated both the amount of story left and the amount of time necessary to tell it. One week in, I realized that short of some miracle on the time-space continuum, I wasn’t going to finish the novel in August. But:
2) Having a concrete goal ups productivity, whether the goal is reachable or not. Despite being fairly certain I couldn’t reach my goal, I had some record-breaking weeks in terms of how much I managed to create. Personal Best is still an achievement.
3) Doing a big push to the end is something you should plan ahead for – like NaNoWriMo. Picking a month which is already full of Things Happening (including major family events, visitors, and travel) is not a good choice. Full marks for enthusiasm, but Could Do Better on common sense.
4) I am actually capable of focussing on the positive (look how much I wrote!) and not solely on the negative (I failed to meet my goal). I feel healthier in head and heart as a consequence, and not afraid to set goals for myself in the future, because I know I’m not going to knock the stuffing out of myself if I don’t get to the finish line on time.
Plan B: success! and hopefully a success that will continue long after the WIP is finally finished.
So on I run…
What has life been teaching you lately? Pass it along!