Saturday, December 19, 2015

Best Laids Plans of Writers and Academics

Let me just be honest: I gave up on December NaNo about December 3rd. I had the best of intentions, but like many things in life, even the best laid plans have to be sidetracked. December is the type of month that can either be great for me, or miserable, or both. This year, it's not been a particularly good month, and it never helps that I get anxious this time of year about the fact that another year is ending and I didn't do half the things I wanted to.

But that's normal. That's par for the course. But it makes writing hard. I also know from experience that I am much better in an empty house. I cannot write in public places. I also can't write very well in company. And I've had nothing but company this month, even more so than in November (and I managed NaNo with international travel!) It happens. I am slowly ploughing away at finishing the novel I didn't quite manage to finish last month (to be fair, 50k is rather short, and this one needs to be 70k).

That is my only goal this month. I am trying to be kind to myself and do only what I can actually manage each day, and not feel like a failure if I don't accomplish the To Do list. Or feel guilty for not being able to. I promised myself a year ago I would start doing this, and then life threw a loop-d-loop my way and this year has been full of (not always pleasant) surprises. Instead, I am making that promise again. Do only what I can. There are times to push oneself, and I'm generally pretty good at those, but for the rest of this year, I need to just be okay.

And that's enough for the busiest, craziest, most expensive month of the year. There is absolutely nothing wrong with baby steps. I think this might be what people mean when they talk about the year after the PhD.

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