Never Give Up! Never Surrender!

This line from Galaxy Quest is one I think of a lot when I’m facing challenges.  It’s a great movie, not only because of Alan Rickman (DUH), but because this sentiment is one that helps me put one foot in front of the other (metaphorical or otherwise) when I’m really in the middle of a slog that makes me want to give up.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, both as applies to writing and to running.

On the running front, I am pausing in C25k until later in September when the weather is cooler and instead doing some intervals of my own design.  5 minutes of running with 1 minute of walking x 4.  By the last interval I was wheezing and gasping like some kind of asthmatic, and I got through by mentally running my brain through all my favorite inspirational movie speeches.

So really, this went something like “Declare this, our Independence Day!  For Rohan!  For Frodo!  We are SPARTA!”

Hey, it got me up the last hill.

I have a REALLY frigging hard time accepting my own limitations.

Over the last 3 years, since I started tracking my word count and productivity, I have repeatedly done the math to sort out “if I wrote this many words on this many days a year, I should be able to write this many words in a year, which translates into this, this, and this.”  Sometimes being a data geek is a really dangerous thing.

It took me 2 years to accept that I’m not going to write every day, and to revise my goal to writing some percentage out of each week or month.  These days I’m aiming for 20 days out of 30.

I joined up the WIP500 Challenge this year, a challenge that aims at 500 words a day, which by the end of the year, means we should have written 183k.  Only 500 words a day. That usually feel so doable to me.  But I’m not gonna make it this year.  Too much life stuff, too much EDJ interference.  And it just pisses me off.  I had a royal pity party about it this weekend.  Then I sat down and forced myself through the logic.

In 2010, I wrote 103.5k, which worked out to 2 novellas and some other stuff.

In 2011, I wrote 126k, which worked out to a full novel and a short story, and some other stuff.

This year, I am on target to end the year somewhere in the neighborhood of 135k, which is, again, going to work out to a full novel and a short story, and some other stuff.

It’s not like I’m backsliding.  Every year I’ve increased my word count.  I’m accomplishing about the same this year as I did last.  It’s just not as much as I want.  In my mind, I feel like I should be able to write 2 books a year.  But the evidence just doesn’t support that, not while I’m working more than full time.

So I’m really trying to shift my expectations of myself and what I REALISTICALLY can do.  I know I can write a novel and a short story in a year.  So a more REALISTIC goal to stretch myself is a novel and a novella.

via Wikimedia Commons

I’m not what you could call happy about this.  I have exponentially more ideas than time in which to execute them.  But maybe setting this reasonable goal will save me some angsting and crazy.  Because, really, I live in a house with dogs.  Angst kitties are not welcome.

Never give up.  Never surrender.

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3 comments

  1. That reminds me of Richard Simmons. He always said “Never give up!”. I know people make fun of him, but he really helped a lot of women and men. Every time I see the end of one of the DVD’s I have of him, I cry because there’s this guy that lost 300 lbs. If someone can do THAT, then there’s hope for all our dreams.

    I’m glad you’re looking at your word count and seeing that you’re not backing up. And every writer has a different number when it comes to how many books can be published. I know authors who put out 6-8 per year. But you know what? They don’t have evil day jobs! Just think how much writing you could do if that’s ALL you did for a living. So it’s not that you are slacking at ALL.There are only so many hours in a day.

    When I’m writing like I am right now, I can probably write and publish 2 novels or 3-4 novellas a year. Or 1 novel and 2 novellas. With a day job, that’s about it. I long for the day when I can actually do this full time, and I know you do, too. With your talent and persistence, I KNOW that will happen for you.

  2. I am late A LOT because I plan daily travel based on the best time I’ve ever gotten from Point A to Point B. It’s been a process of learning that all the stop lights will not be green for me; I will end up behind someone going 20mph in a 45mph zone; and traffic will not part like the Red Sea before Moses. Which totally sucks.

    I think writing is like that as well. There’s what we know we are capable of doing…if only the universe would cooperate. But it doesn’t. You’re doing terrific, Kait. Hang in there. Also, if you make that saying a textspeak, it’s NGUNS. (I like that: N-Guns.)

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