Camp Nanowrimo 2016: 1217/Slow Burn

I love how long it takes to write sometimes.

I have spent so much of my life complaining about how long it takes to write. I lament my inability to get writing done quickly and time-efficiently, to cut out the time spent procrastinating and agonising and all the other things that aren’t writing. I wrote 1217 words today, and it felt good, even though it isn’t as much as I could have written, or perhaps should have written, and certainly doesn’t add up to as much as I would have liked to have accomplished this late into the month, now over halfway through Camp Nanowrimo.

But I also love that. I love that writing isn’t easy, that it doesn’t flow constantly and steadily like a river, that it takes work and effort and, not uncommonly, a tremendous amount of waiting for inspiration to strike, something to kick me out of a slump or rough patch and get me going. Not because I think this is a good way to do things, but because it’s how it is. It’s my reality. It is hard for me to write. Not in general, but a specific project that I have to commit to. I’m used to bouncing all over the place, and I think so much of my procrastination comes from the fact that commitment comes from giving up that frivolity, and that I’m so used to it that I find it so much easier to angst mildly about how I’m not free to do whatever I want than to just get the task I’ve appointed myself done so that I’ll have some of that much-coveted free time. No, it’s not efficient. No, it’s not disciplined. But it’s me. And I dunno, I just appreciate that. It is what it is.

Having said that though, I am also in need of a serious kick up the backside. I have so much work to do and, after making sure that I had enough time to do it in, I’ve spent about half of that time not doing anything with it. And when it comes to my MA in particular, as wonderful as it is sometimes to just appreciate that I work at the pace of a slow burn, I really would love to experience life as a person who can just motor when it really counts, and that’s going to take practice. Today, for instance, I spent the evening watching Shadowhunters, a particularly bland show based on The Mortal Instruments that nevertheless was more entertaining than I was expecting, and gave me some much-desired release from the anxiety I’ve built up about how much work I’m not getting done. Part of that is because I am horrendously bad at setting goals and limits to my workloads. I tried one today, which was to just open the document that I’m writing my next MA chapter in – which I did. So that’s something. And it’s a step in the right direction. But I’m going to need to do something with that document that is a little more taxing than just opening it up (and fixing a typo; hey look at that I exceeded my own expectations). And this is just really hard for me. I’ve never needed to be particularly disciplined in this way; if anything I grew up with anti-discipline when it came to steering my attention in a particular direction – I always just decided what that was for myself, and when I lost interest, I was done. I have some work to do, in other words.

And having said that, my Camp Nano project is finally taking shape in a way that actually does interest me in seeing it through to completion. It’s much darker than I had intended. I guess I can save all the light stuff for something else. The MA chapter has a lot less momentum behind it but, well, a lot of that has to do with my abysmal time-management. I could have had some resources that I need a lot sooner than I’m going to get them, which will be Monday. But at the same time, I probably didn’t need all the time I managed to get to complete this chapter, so it’ll probably all work out. And if not? Well, nothing like trial by fire. And I’ve done pretty damn well up to this point, considering what an undisciplined mess I am.

I still like it, though. The slow burn, the glacial pace – not because I get to stick it to the man or whatever, just that I do like it. For this story anyway. It just feels right for the time being.

So maybe I can use that. I think I’ll write a paragraph tomorrow. See how that goes.

I mean just because I like a slow burn, it doesn’t mean I can’t do it in a timely fashion. And a paragraph often ends up turning into a lot more.

Know your limits, I guess is what I’m saying. And embrace them. You might find that they really aren’t holding you back at all.

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