time of year where all I want to do is pause and reflect on all my blessings and achievements of the past twelve months, I instead find myself running around like a proverbial chicken with her head chopped off. (If you’ve ever had the opportunity in your life to see that, you know how horrifying it is!) Between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and now Green Monday, I truly don’t know for sure if I’m coming or going. The days of December have become a bit of a blur.
Then to add even more chaos to my life, my sweet little grandson Erik, who was due to arrive on February 7th, decided instead to show up Wednesday, December 4th—11 weeks early. All is well thus far, but what a crazy time it has become for my family. Did I mention he and his lady live in Berlin, German?!
My intention in October was to finish my third Salmon Run novel, Waiting for You, by the end of the year. Thus far, I’ve only written 35K words out of the 95K projected. I think it’s fairly obvious I’m not going to make my January 1st goal, which is not an easy thing for me to admit.
First of all, I’m already late with this book for a hundred legitimate reasons, all of which seem rather pointless now. Second, usually when I’m in this kind of situation, I tell myself that I can indeed write 60K words in two weeks. And why not? I have nothing else to do but eat, sleep, celebrate the holidays with my friends and family, and just plain live like a normal person. You get the idea.
Finally, I come to a place where I recognize that my original goal needs to be modified, which logically seems like the best solution. But then I often find I beat myself up for not meeting the promises I make to me as well as to others. Do I sound like I need therapy yet?
I actually don’t, because I am familiar with my crazy brain and know how to quiet it down when push comes to shove. Positive self-talk is helpful, but even more so is merely the simple act of writing. Not out of obligation or guilt, but just for the sheer pleasure of doing so. When I can rediscover my happy place in writing, my passion soon returns, and before I know it, my goal is met.
The Holiday message here is that above all our work as writers should be joyful, even when under the pressures of life, those of editors and publishers, and most importantly, the ones we self-create. I hope all of us have a peaceful holiday and joyous new year in spite of our preoccupation with word count.