Hey everybody, it’s that time again to relax and chill with another Meditative Monday. And lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the time I’ve spent on this planet and the progress that I’ve been making in writing and art.
A problem that I run into a lot (and it’s common across lots of disciplines, not just art) is this issue of feeling like you’re not progressing fast enough or that you’re not making any at all.
I found that I tend to feel this way even if I did put in the correct work for a day. And it’s because my novel Vicissitude Yin Side is a freaking behemoth at a little it over 240,000 words and I’ve still got two and a half sections of this fatty to write.
Realizing The Importance Of Context In Progress
If this was my first novel, I would’ve been done with 60k to spare and I realized that the feeling of making progress is very based on context.
I’ve had days where I’ve written as little as a hundred words and I’ve felt great about it, and then I’ve had days when I’ve written 4,000k-5,000k and felt awful.
And you might be wondering why feel awful if you get that much work done? I found its because this idea of where we are in comparison to where we think that we should be.
For example, I decided to ramp my word count up to get through my scenes faster so I thought okay, 4500 is a decent amount that I can do without destroying my brain but get a little bit done on both of my WIPs.
But what I was doing in my head was saying, “Okay, I’ll get through this scene or this section today.”
Then I launch myself into it and low and behold, I throw all 4500 at my comp and boop, at the end of day, I could still be stuck in the same scene in a chapter.
I divide my chapters by 1-1 (1), 1-1 (2), and often times these things can go on to like 4 or 5 individual sections. So when you have 4k and 5k behemoths next to each other in one chapter, things get very sluggish really fast.
When things get slow, it can be hard to remember that we’re still putting in the same amount of work every day.
If it goes on long enough, we can sometimes feel like all of our hardworking isn’t going anywhere. And that can lead to feeling like you should give up or that the project isn’t fun because you’re doing the same thing over and over when you really want to move on. And feeling stuck all of the time sucks major crusty sphinx booty.
But there are two things that I’ve realized that helps when I’m going through a hard patch like this:
One: Being born guarantees us a certain amount of time here on earth.
If it takes you ten years to do something, those ten years will pass whether or not you practice actively. And if you horse around, your goals only get pushed further and further into the future. The amount of time something takes will not really change much if you put in the same effort.
So I thought, well if that’s true then I might as well keep doing it. And that leads into the second thing…
Two: Finishing/Reaching That Book Is A Given If You Keep Working On It
Unless, you know, you’re making an unfinishable book for some reason. But so many people give up on their drafts because they feel like they can’t finish it.
When I was a newbie, I was one of those people! I ditched drafts and skipped around because I felt that it was just impossible. I didn’t understand how to finish or end things (though I still struggle with the ends of chapters. 😦 )
When I finished the first draft of what is now Vicissitude Yang years ago, I was so happy. Granted it was a huuuuuuge stinker, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was that I finished something. I didn’t feel like some hack pretending to be a writer or some wannabe making excuses and thinking that they could cheese their way into success.
But it also made a light come on for me. Mind you it was a very vague, faulty light that probably couldn’t help me see shit. But I thought, “Huh. If I keep writing like this, I’ll get to the end.”
Fast forward to now: a whole novel is finished, and I’m hooked to finishing my writing projects and excited about the future (though still lamenting my broke butt struggling present).
So if there’s anything to take away from my long ramble-spree, it’s that to try not to think too much about how long something is taking and focus instead on putting in the work. Worrying about the deadline doesn’t help things actually get done (no matter how well meaning and logical it is).
So keep working at it! You will finish.