It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means it’s a post for Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Last month I wrote about plots, which seems more appropriate this month as I start to come up on National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I’m proud to say that I have a plot ready this year and I’ve made a support group of my own for friends to join me on my Facebook page. A place where we can share and lament together.
The worries I have now are a little varied. What if I don’t finish it? The nagging voice in my head is trying to tell me that I’ll feel like a failure if I don’t meet the 50K word goal. To which I reply, “nonsense!” If I can get something started, where is the failure in that? If I can get half that word goal, that’s a phenomenal start. There is no failing in this because it is a win-win situation. If I don’t “win” the word goal, I still get a good start on a new novel. I get something out of it no matter what the outcome is.
Then I think, What if I finish it, but it’s full of plot holes and it’s awful and it’ll never be published and… Stop it. That’s a whole lot of ands in there. Say there’s a plot hole. Holes get filled. You either fix it or chuck it. Plot holes in rough draft are not the end of the world. And of course it’s going to be awful, but only in the best way. No one’s first attempt is spectacular. That is why it’s a rough draft. It’s why you are not currently published. Make it rough, then polish it. Polished things get published.
And just like that, I’ve managed to pep talk myself out of that never ending worry spiral. It’s dizzying, that spiral. You don’t scare me, Voice. You can just stay quiet there in the back of my head where you belong. You have no power here.
In preparation for NaNo, I find myself both wanting to write and outline, but also wanting to read. I feel like I am not the same kind of reader I was right out of high school, which was when I was writing much more frequently and enjoying the process for what it was. I feel I’ve done myself a disservice with the lack of reading in my life. I have books on my shelves that have never been started, some that have never been finished. Time is always an excuse for me with reading – the same I use for writing. It’s interesting when I put it that way, because I am forced to remind myself that if I only bothered to read even two chapters a day that book would be finished a lot faster than if I don’t read it at all. If I only write 300 words a day, that story will be finished so much faster than if I don’t write any words at all. 300 words is measly when you think of the daunting NaNo goal of 1,667 words a day, but 300 is something. And if I’m doing something, then it’s something I should be proud of. Time is an excuse.
There really is enough time in the day if you review whether or not you’re making an excuse. When I say “there’s not enough time to do that”, it’s usually because I’ve just spent the last 30 minutes doing something that had nothing to do with anything resembling my goals. My mornings are usually a good example of this. Instead of getting ready for work first, eating breakfast, or sitting down and writing a blog update, I spend my time on my phone making sure all my favorite games have been updated and items gathered, then I lounge on the couch in blessed silence in my fuzzy robe and enjoy my coffee or tea. Don’t misunderstand me, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of this except when I lounge until a time that is inappropriate to get ready for work on time. Suddenly the excuse is that “there isn’t enough time to eat breakfast”, or “there isn’t enough time to write.” No. What I’m really saying is there isn’t enough time to get as much relaxing in AND do all of the things that I would like to do before work. And that’s okay. As long as I’m not using it as an excuse.
This is where time management comes in. If I can’t use that small window of time to do everything I want to do every morning, then I have to block out my days. One or two days a week for writing in the morning, one or two for games and silence, etc. And no matter what, be sure I’m getting ready by no later than 6:10. Do I always do it that way? No. But recognizing it is the first step, I think.
Anyway, I think that got a little away from me. My point is this: you can do exactly what you want to do, if you only do it. And there will always be time to do what you want because you can make that time, if you’re honest with yourself and really look past your own excuses. Next time you hear yourself saying something like “there isn’t enough time” I encourage you to step back and see what you can adjust to ensure that you do have time. You should always make time for things you want to pursue.