I have to admit: I nearly decided to lie to you all this week.
Well, not *lie* exactly, but aggressively image-craft; I debated pretending everything was going along swimmingly with Finish It February so that I could keep everyone’s spirits up. I had a post planned about updates and hacking the pomodoro method and all sorts of cheerful motivational tidbits.
But then I thought: if there is one place I should be fully truthful, not need to image-craft, it’s here. This blag is all about my travails and the boring/ugly side of trying to get published, and it doesn’t make sense to shy away from a boring/ugly truth, now does it?
I’m failing at my goals for this month.
Yes they are arbitrary. Yes the only one accountable to them is myself. But it turns out I’m a really hard boss to work for.
(It’s also really hard to admit, to type out.)
But in the interests of following my own advice, I talked to myself in the shower about my difficulties and shame like I would a good friend. If I had a good friend come to me for advice (maybe while not in the shower, but possibly sitting on the toilet with the lid down, talking through the curtain as close buds do), what would I tell them?
I would say: it happens to everyone. I know you feel the shame of not being as good at your goal as you want to be, but you don’t have to. There’s nothing shameful in trying and realizing, nope, not going to stick the landing.
I’d continue: having been on both sides of the desk, I know for 100% fact it’s better to manage expectations than to let a deadline fly by and hit someone else in the face. Always let them know ASAP. Let them consider alternatives.
I’d try to break them out of the sneaky shame spiral. I’d hope they would do the same for me.
So what’s my alternative? I asked myself. What’s the real goal and how can I reframe the problem?
Goal on paper: 30 hours of editing by the end of the month.
Real goal: I want to finish editing my MS so that I can put it in the drawer knowing it’s 100% as far as I can take it.
That means finishing the last line-edits. Even though I hate it. Even though I dread sitting down with it.
So how I can I accomplish that? 30 hours is too much to face: but what about 15 hours? What about 30 minutes a day? That’s one pomodoro. Maybe two, if I am sitting in a cafe? Would that be doable?
Is it better to fail at a bigger goal or succeed at a smaller one?
I drew a journal layout out last week with thirty squares, and then promptly fell on my face and accomplished a hour out of the seven I “should” do. Over the weekend I became increasingly tempted to not say anything but internally adjust the goal to 30 half-hours and then bounce into today’s blag anyway like I wasn’t cheating and toss pom-poms around and hope that the motivation would come after. After all, no one would know.
Right? Except me.
But that makes me feel too much like those artfully styled instagram #WokeUpLikeThis #TeeHee photos that make me roll my eyes so hard they fall out and roll out the door like a meatball previously atop of spaghetti (all covered with cheese).
After all, the whole point is to spotlight the unglamorous hard work, not just the glorious results.
that’s what I’m doing.
My Finish It February is not going very well. I hate it. But I’d rather complete a smaller project than not complete one at all, so I’m adjusting it from 30 hours of work down to 15. I hope it’s more manageable. It feels more manageable, anyway.
I’m going to give myself a second chance.
How is your February going? What would you say to your friend if the roles were reversed?