Too Many Challenges

28 05 2010

Note to self: When you’ve just managed to wrap up one semester and are working toward planning a new one, it may not be the best time to take up yet another challenge. Especially when you’re working toward filling three other challenges you started…

Okay, so the Page-A-Day Challenge is not going spectacularly for me. The first sign of imminent failure should have been that I couldn’t focus enough to stick to one writing goal. And yet, I felt compelled to keep trying. My second sign of failure should have been that there were many days when I realized I hadn’t written my page for the day but was getting ready for bed, so I would sit down and quickly write anything that came to mind just to get my page done. Working toward mediocrity is generally not a sign of success–especially when you add it to other little red warning flags. And then yesterday it happened: I forgot to write a page. Hmm… That doesn’t necessarily mean “failure” in the strictest sense–after all, I did write in my journal, and I took lots of little notes throughout the day. But my focus is shifting too fast for me to keep up with it. I usually am overly wrought by the thought of failing at something, but lately I’ve started to embrace it for its deeper meaning. Failure: it’s the predecessor of success. I think you have to first fail in order to eventually succeed. I think I have to fail some challenges to better understand what challenges will work for me. I mean, what’s the point of succeeding at every challenge in life if you don’t learn something from those successes and those successes turn into mediocre expectations of yourself?

It’s interesting to me how one challenge can really get me going and working toward a final goal while others can leave me feeling like I simply took on too much–even when the challenge wasn’t all that pressing. One friend and I were talking about the depression (or, in my case, hermitage) that follows the conclusion of a stressful work-filled period in life. I like her take on the situation: Humans are meant to work in cycles (some people believe these cycles follow the phases of the moon). We need to better learn ourselves to figure out when our productive times are so that we can better make use of our “down times” to gather strength and necessary knowledge to make our productive cycles as productive as possible. Does that make sense? Right now is not a productive time for me, but I find myself working little bits on things that will–very shortly–become major projects for me. I’m just waiting for my next cycle of productivity. I’m not procrastinating–I’m percolating. I’m getting things in order, I’m jotting down notes, I’m using daily life experiences to better inform what eventually will be major decisions. I guarantee you that my down time is not spent staring at a wall or passing my time doing absolutely nothing. I find that my down time is geared toward (sometimes unconsciously) doing things that will help me in the future. For instance, right now I’m going through a down time with writing. Yet I’m reading more than ever. I’m reading books I’ve been wanting to read, I’m reading books that are similar to the one I am gearing up to write, and I’m participating in rating submissions on WEbook that are in my writing genre. In other words, I’m forming a bigger picture so I can better situate my writing when I am ready to write.

I know there are writers out there right now yelling, “But writers should write every day–not just when they feel like it!” I don’t know what to say beyond, “That just doesn’t work for me.”

While lamenting one failure, I can celebrate a different success: I had joined WEbook’s Page to Fame by submitting the first page of my completed manuscript and after many ratings… my page has been elevated to the next level by readers! Woo-hoo! For any writers out there working toward getting published/finding the agent for you, I highly recommend submitting to Page to Fame. It’s a good way to gauge whether readers of your genre might want to keep reading after that first page.