I kept saying in my NaNo Retrospective post that I would continue the point in another post – mostly this one! Because I suppose ultimately I didn’t have much to say about this years NaNo on it’s own. I will cover a lot in context with my yearly wrap-up post, and I also knew I wanted to write this post which would talk about some of the problems (or are they problems?) that I experienced.
In life we are surrounded by habit trackers. I have an apple watch and I love that thing but the “three rings everyday” thing just isn’t realistic, at least not for me. I have a 4thewords account and there are other sites (750 words is one I think?) that encourage streaks of writing every single day. If you google about productivity it says instituting habits is a good method, as it takes the decision process out. You do the task because you are supposed to do the task and it’s automatic and requires less willpower. Daily habits are a good thing and they are supposed to help! But are they realistic?
I have struggled with consistency forever. It has been a problem and something I have wanted to work on and ‘fix’ for years. I feel like if I could conquer the consistency problem then I would be able to be on track and ‘win’ at what I need to do. How many times have I lamented about my lack of focus? Bemoaned having good days and “why can’t I do that all the time?” It’s misery making. I want it and it just doesn’t happen. But should it?
The ‘standard’ work week of Monday-Friday 9-5 has a lot wrong with it but it does leave the weekends. These are often not for relaxing but for other tasks but the tasks are different and for the purposes of my point that is enough. Even in the gruelling ‘standard’ 40 hour work week there is a mental break with the weekends from that kind of work at least. (I know a lot of people work Saturdays, or 7 days a week, or multiple jobs, and the 5 day a week 9-5 grind is no picnic anyway, that’s not what I am saying). Wait what was my point? Right my point is doing the same thing every single day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, might be like a nirvana goal but is that even healthy?
My dream life is to be creative for a living. To earn money through writing, maybe even through art (unlikely but hey that’s why it’s a dream). I remember with NaNo for the first couple of years I did the “midnight start” and it was exciting, it was like a party, and the whole ‘literary abandon’ thing of prepping your month, reducing other responsibilities to throw yourself into writing – that’s not reasonable longterm. I know as far as back 2012 I decided if I wanted to do this thing year round/with a view to being professional I had to stop treating NaNo like a special holiday and be more reasonable about it. No more midnight starts, life continues mostly as normal etc. And the thing with normal life is that shit happens.
Today I am writing blog posts because I am fighting against the blackness of depression that just wants me to curl up in a dark corner and disappear. I need a distraction so I don’t spend the day sobbing and feeling worse and worse, and I am trying to do something semi-productive rather than just video games. I have a metric-ton of writing I need to do to finish the draft by the end of the month. I have a lot of art I need to do for some deadlines around Christmas, but today it’s just not happening. I hate myself for that as I am then another day ‘behind’ and also it makes the streaks look sad.
I want to be the type of person that works hard on a consistent basis. I think for anybody every single day is a bad idea as rest is important. My ‘ideal’ is 6 days a week which hurts with those streaks because they are all designed for 7 – everyday. There is no give in them for bad days, for illness, for family events, for holidays, for doctors appointments etc.
I got my NaNo 50k by writing 18 of the 30 days. That wasn’t an even spread of words. Some days I got a few hundred, other days I got several thousand. It was as opposite to being consistent as you can get really – and yet in the end I had the same amount as someone who wrote the 1,667 every single day. I don’t like my approach because I always feel like I could (and should!) have done more but perhaps my approach exists because that was the limit of my capabilities. I did what I could, when I could, and the amount varied because of my mental state/outside factors. That’s life, that’s practical, that’s dare I say, reasonable?
I’m someone that is never really satisfied with what I have done. Even if I make my goal I feel I should I have done it better/faster etc. and a big part of that perpetual disappointment in myself is my lack of consistency. Despite everything I have said here, it’s like a habit – ha! – that I can’t unlearn. It feels like it’s necessary even though I have reasoned out that perhaps it’s not very compatible with reality. I’m not quite sure what the answer to that is. Logic brain says consistency might not be all that, but emotions say otherwise.