Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Page A Day is Over. Triumph or Failure?

Last month I signed up for a Page A Day writing challenge. But the story starts before that.

A month before I'd set up a challenge for myself – actually more a spreadsheet than a challenge - in which I'd write a thousand words a day until this Friday, when summer officially begins for my family. This Friday, if I completed my personal challenge, I'd be done with the first draft of my book.

When I signed up for Weronika's Page A Day, I didn't think of it as a change in plans at first. If I did my thousand words, I'd do my  But when the PADC started, I realized the point was to take the pressure off of writing massive amounts and make it okay to just do something, even if only a page.

So I took that to heart, and today the challenge ended. I'm trying to decide if it was a success or a failure.

The truth is, if the point was to write at least one page every day, no matter what, I failed. There were several days I wrote nothing. Most of those days were weekends where my family had packed days that started at sun-up and ended when I could barely hold my eyes open. I wasn't even home or around the computer those days, and to try to stay up past midnight to squeeze that page in would have been defeatist.

And yet – over the course of 31 days, I wrote 69 pages: more than twice the PADC requirement. So I can't feel too bad about that.

In 31 days I added more than 20,000 words, and have come within 15,000 words of my first draft goal (I write skinny... I'll probably add another 10,000 on rewrites). I only really started this book in March. If I didn't have that other goal with it's pretty little spreadsheet mocking me I'd be thrilled. Over the moon. Busting with pride.

And yet.... I am so disappointed that I'm not done. That this first draft writing is now bleeding into what is supposed to be vacation. I feel like I let myself down.

I still have three days to cram in some writing, but those days are already packed with end of the year parties at school, field days, shopping and packing and last minute details. When I closed my document tonight, I knew in my heart it was the end of significant progress this week.

I'm still finding my peace in that. And trying hard to feel the joy of the success I had.

What about you? How do you deal with falling short of your goals?


  1. You did great!
    But I know what you mean. When I fall short on my writing goals vs other goals, I take it pretty hard.

  2. Enjoy what you've accomplished. You've done more than many of us have and life happens:))

  3. I think of new goals that are more doable. But it's always hard to fall short. 20k is a good amount.

  4. I agree with Terri, enjoy what you've accomplished and just make another goal.

    I have a friend who writes down things on her to do list that she's already done and then crosses them off.

  5. ha - I do what Patti's friend does. That way I can see some achievement. I also don't write things like - Do the Dishes. Instead I'll write - Empty dish washer and then - reload dishwasher. See - more things to make me feel successful.

    You have been on a bit of a roller coaster and your mind is not clear at this time. The end of year for school and your vacation the very next day. Yikes! You have a lot going on. Failing would be achieving nothing. You have achieved much. The time line for your book is yours - isn't that the best part? You can change that! Being a SAHM and a writer - you can give yourself that flexibility.

    You are about to embark on an amazing vacation with your family. You will still be thinking about your book, your characters - and will be jotting things here and there. I have no doubt that when you return, while you are sifting through mountains of laundry - you will be smoking those keys - finishing, editing, and polishing that book.

    Breathe. I think you forget to do that sometimes.

  6. Celebrating success along the way helps me not berate myself so much for the little failures along the way.
    ~ Wendy

  7. I could easily feel like a failure right now. I haven't done a hell of a lot of anything in terms of novel writing in waaaay too long. But I have to give myself a break because my life needed to be taken care of, and besides, I KNOW I can finish a novel. I've done it.

    And so have you!!! (Not just any novel either; you have written an EXCELLENT one.)

    As hard as it is to be satisfied with "good enough" I think you can allow yourself to call it a triumph. You set a goal, you reached it. Maybe not how you wanted, but there it is.

    I think you can get the last bit done in the first few days of summer holidays, and then you've got the summer to let it simmer in your head. YOu know, while you're doing fun stuff with the younguns!

  8. I wouldn't be down at all if I were you. I think whatyou got accomplished with eerything else you had to do is outstanding!!!!

  9. Thanks for the encouragement. I think I'll look at this as a success, averages being what they are and all. :)

    I've definitely come a long way since last year's 12-month struggle to write anything. I'm so proud I've written almost the whole book in three months.

    So instead of going into why I should be finished, I'm going to leave it at that. :)