When it comes to writing, I enjoy the research phase. I also love the writing phase where I just throw it onto paper. But when it comes to editing, I get…uncomfortable. All those monkey mind thoughts I fought while writing come back and it prevents me from finishing.
Working out and changing your diet is uncomfortable.
Interviewing for your dream job is uncomfortable.
Making new friends is uncomfortable.
Disconnecting from friends who don’t act like your friends is uncomfortable.
Discomfort leads to change and growth! Who cares about perfection? It’s not important. In fact, it can be your enemy. Finishing is the most important thing.
I’m going to share my update with you in the hopes that you feel camaraderie. Writing can be a lonely experience (albeit a very rewarding one!). I like the solitude and the quiet. It’s actually what I crave right now, after the tornado of politics, media and my husband’s 50th birthday celebrations.
Word Count on my novella:14,176
Goal (approximate): 25,020
Children’s Book: Esther, Mia and the Stars – Spanish translation is done! Scanning of images – 80% complete!
I am strongly considering using Fiverr.com for the Mandarin, Cantonese and French translations.
My mother (I believe) will be very happy to do the Korean translation.
My husband’s birthday is in November – his 50th birthday, so we partied for TWO weekends. And then there’s Thanksgiving. To say it’s been challenging to write is an understatement, what with work, family, and parties…but it’s SUPER FUN!
I’ve set a goal for myself to write a “novella,” (7,500 to 40,000 words) instead of a novel (60,000 to 100,000 words). I wanted to set myself up for success, afterall! So I targeted 25,000 words and averaged it the number of days in November. Here is my excel sheet to monitor daily progress:
on the road, wrote in word
As you can see, I have to write at least 475 more words tonight. So here I go! I hope you are enjoying the process and making progress. Once in awhile, I have to remind myself to HAVE FUN and not stress about the word count or listen to Monkey Mind!
Monkey Mind. It’s what Buddhists call the mind that jumps from one worrying thought to another worrying thought, like monkeys swinging from tree to tree.
I am well acquainted with my Monkey Mind – especially since I’ve been working on my novella for Nanowrimo this month. I’m chugging along and it keeps saying, “This is terrible. Seriously. Why do you continue? You should scrap this.”
But I do my best to ignore it and I continue to write because if I listen to it, I’ll stop writing. I’ll be a quitter and the only thing worse than being a bad writer is being a quitter.
I know you’re familiar with Monkey Mind, because you’re listening to it all the time.
What if I miss my plane?
What if I don’t lose the weight before the reunion?
What if I fail as a parent?
Donald Trump is our President! He has no experience! I’m worried that he’ll get us into a war because some other world leader makes fun of his hair!
How do we handle Monkey Mind?
Focus on your breath. Focus on the present moment. Notice it and say, “Oh hello, Monkey Mind. You don’t bother me,” and continue on your way.
“Most sea turtles undergo long migrations, some as far as 1400 miles, between their feeding grounds and the beaches where they nest.”*
I thought of animals like the sea turtle who complete Herculean tasks as a part of just living. Since I started Nanowrimo and set a daily word count goal for myself, I’ve realized how it’s so important to stick to your daily goals in order to reach your End Goal. If I skip one day, not too big a deal, but if I fail to meet my goals two, three or more days, I’ve now got quite the task in front of me and it only adds to my anxiety.
Your good great health is built on a long string of days doing the right thing: eating well and exercising. If you skip too many days, you’re no longer healthy or fit and it’s just that much more difficult to reach your goal.
If you give 50% effort during several days of work per week (or month), the quality of your work (in general) suffers. You no longer have the respect of your peers, your boss(es) or your clients. Most importantly, you no longer have self-respect.
An off day is OK. But be sure to jump up and start your long journey right again the next day and catch up!
I’m still writing, just haven’t blogged about it. Thought I’d share the progress (and I want to hear from you, too!)
I am an entire day behind on Nanowrimo. As I wrote last night, I have been busy planning and executing my husband’s 50th birthday and it was WELL WORTH IT!
My children’s book is also progressing nicely, my teacher/friend is halfway through the Spanish translation. Yippeee! Somehow, it looks more real when I see progress that someone else has added to it.
When I realized I am not on pace with my Nanowrimo schedule (approximately 900 words/day), I started to feel a bit bad/sad/panicky. And then I was reading The Book of Joy and Desmond Tutu said something that gave me pause: sometimes, our ambition wrecks our happiness.
All the spiritual leaders I know have spoken about this. It’s FINE and GREAT to have ambition, as long as it doesn’t stress you out and cause you negative feelings. I don’t want to give up my goals, but I also don’t want to feel bad when I don’t reach my goals. I’ve always used stress to motivate myself (so my husband tells me). What to do?
Work towards them and remain flexible for a bend in the road. Continue working happily. Continue working through obstacles happily. Work around them and just remain equanimous.
With Stephen Covey’s wisdom to guide me, I’ve decided to shoot for writing a novella (20,000 – 40,000 words) to complete by November 30th. Let’s say I write 25,000 words. That means I have to write at least 834 words/day.