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Success and Surrender–ROW 80 Check-in

By next check-in, it will be February. This first month of 2012 has blown by so quickly. I feel like round one just got started a few days ago, but that is not the case. Instead we’re twenty-eight days into this eighty day journey. I’m totally excited about the progress in some areas and less than impressed with others.  A mixed bag.

Reading– I finished Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind. In the end, I’d say I’m more than luke warm about it, but I won’t be having any fangirl meltdowns about it either.  This book was extremely slow moving in too many places for me. I’m invested enough in the main character, Kvothe, to read the next installment. I hope it picks up.

I went back to Story Engineering as well. Knocked out  a few more chapters of that this last week. Got some pages in today.

Novel Analyzing– Haven’t worked on that at all in the last few days. And when I’m truly honest with myself, I realize that I’m just  being stubborn. I asked myself a question: Would I rather sacrifice the drill for the sake of finishing the book or sacrifice the book for the sake of finishing the drill?  When I look at it that way, the answer is clear. 

I’ve been trying to prove to myself that I can finish this book and slowing my overall progress in this area down to a snail’s pace. I hate quitting things, but sometimes that is the best option. Forcing myself to stick with it is not an efficient use of time in this situation. There is a big difference between activity and productivity, and I’d much rather be productive than merely active. I’m starting a new book this week with the option never to return to the book that shall not named. Waving the white flag and moving on.

Writing- I am most pleased with the happenings on this front. My 250 word test mile has been the most successful thing I’ve implemented so far this year. I have written every day this month. I haven’t written this consistently in  a while. I’m going to start participating in some sprints again. Those are always fun and productive for me.

How are you feeling after your first month of the new year?

Hope you guys are having fun and hitting your marks. Catch ya Wednesday!

Flogging Optional–ROW 80 Check-in

I’ve gotten all my words in over the last few days. Aiming for 250 words a day didn’t seem like much to me when I chose this goal, but I’m finding that it makes me more productive. It’s a number I can hit without feeling stressed. It’s a number I can hit even when my day has been crazy.

Story Engineering is taking over my mind. In fact, I’ve been having a hard time putting it down. I don’t mind that in general, but it’s taking away from other things at the moment (namely novel analyzing). It’s kind of funny how that works. This thing is going too fast and the other isn’t going fast enough. Even as I write this, I am laughing. Who cares?

There are no deadlines. This is not for a class or a job. I mean, does it even count as an Ooh Shiny! moment when I’m doing something that is productive and that’s on my list? My inner control freak is showing. Excuse me while I put her to bed.

Okay, now that some semblance of sanity has been restored, let’s talk novel analyzing. It’s going, just not at the pace I’d prefer. I think I’m just too overly attached to how quickly I get this exercise done. I do recall Amy Kennedy mentioning something about the plot drill making me crazy. It just feels like it has been forever and that it’ll take until next Christmas if I’m not flogging myself about it constantly. Yet, the flogging doesn’t make the work go any faster. It is time to relax, relate, and release. Whooosaaaa.

I haven’t written an extra blog post yet either. I’m starting to feel like the timing isn’t quite right for me to do that yet. So, I’m taking it off the table. Just the other day, I told  a fellow ROWer to focus on fewer things in order to get more done. Methinks said advice applies here as well.

 

The Death of Perfectionism

I’ve been agonizing over the decision of whether or not to keep this blog. I haven’t posted in quite a while. That’s mostly due to the fact that I started studying social media and platform building for writers. And so this blog started to look like a glaring mistake. I’d pretty much decided to trash it and start a new one. After all, this one hasn’t been around long,  hasn’t developed much of a following yet. It’d be easy to just pretend that I’d done it all right from the beginning– start fresh, shiny and new.

Then, Thursday morning, I found out that my grandfather died. He went out for his morning walk and didn’t return. They searched for him and found only his body. Everything else that made him him was never coming back. He was less than two months shy of his ninety-second birthday.

He was a happy, fun-loving man. He was independent in spirit and always smiling. My fondest memories are of him in his little beige truck, the bed filled with fishing gear. I remember playing along the edge of the water as he and my father fished for hours on end, barely talking, soaking up the sun. He was solid, self-assured.

I am sad that my grandfather is no longer with us, but I can’t say that I feel a particular loss. He lived a long, eventful, fruitful life. And I don’t think anyone could ask for much more. So, I won’t dwell on his death. I choose, instead, to focus on the way he chose to live his life.

With that said, I feel an overwhelming need to let go of perfectionism. As unrealistic and deflating as perfectionism can be, it has been a pursuit of mine for longer than I can remember. At times it was a conscious pursuit, but mostly it wasn’t. It’s manifested itself in more ways than I can count. The most recent being my itch to give this blog the axe.

Even now, the idea of keeping a public record of what feels like a mistake to me, makes my stomach turn. It’s silly. I know that no one is perfect and that mistakes are a part of living. Yet, somehow my standards for myself have always been higher than those held  for others. The side effect has been the unwillingness to take the risks necessary to pursue my dreams.

My granddaddy always did the things that made him happy because that’s what made life worth living. I have generally been doing what’s easiest instead doing what works or what really makes me happy. I think its time I followed in the footsteps the great man I’ll always love. To celebrate the life of David Early Sr., I choose to let perfectionism die.

The first step– the blog stays.