Aramis Gothboi – Progress Journal: Shifting goalposts

Progress Journal for Aramis Gothboi: Book One

Mog’s ongoing account of completing the first draft.

Total word count: 18,523

~

Twelfth Post:

I’ve got a sketchbook that I’ve steadily been filling with drawings over the course of the year. At beginning of last week, I noted that I had less than ten pages left to fill the book. At two drawings a night, why would I not have the book filled by the end of the week?

I’ve now got four pages left and the drawings that I have done are some of the worst I’ve added in months with their lack of attention to detail and overall lacklustre effort. What is this about? I’ve got a whole new sketch book just sitting there empty, waiting for me to pick it up and continue with the work I’ve been doing.

Last week I had less than 2,000 words left to reach my goal. Good news is I’ve still got less than 2,000 words (fewer actually) but not by much. I think I’m stalling before I move on to the next step. I know that when I move do move on, I’ll have a whole lot more work to do, so I’m putting it off. Having a sketchbook that’s almost full is far less daunting than starting one that’s empty. I think this is just something I do, like I get put off by the fact that I’m returning the clock to zero or something. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll have a cup of tea and see if I can’t smash out those last 1,477 words in one more sitting before bed. That way I can move on to setting the new goal.

I’ll let you know how I go in the next hour or so…

I wrote that last night. I had a cup of tea, some biscuits, and then I went to bed. Nobody needs to stay up past 2am sweating over some arbitrary goal. I’m still 1,477 words short of 20K.

So I woke up this morning when the sun was warm – a good sleep-in is sometimes necessary – and got out of bed to check my emails. As Covid-19 lockdown rules are easing across Australia I thought I’d better check my university inbox, just in case there were any updates. Yep, a little email about the course I’m preparing this version of the manuscript for. Submission for consideration is due at the end of the month – as I’d anticipated. But what’s this? As I read the details, I couldn’t help but notice the minimum word count.

30,000 words.

That’s 10K more than I’d prepared for. How am I going to do that much in 10 days? After all, it took me two months to write 12K. To summarise the following twenty minutes: I freaked out.

…and then I realised I still hadn’t had breakfast, or even my morning coffee and that I was literally running on empty. I went downstairs, set the coffee pot and made breakfast then sat down to watch some Youtube videos. I’ve been on a bit of a Community (the TV show) trip lately since its release on Netflix, so Youtube recommended I watch writer Dan Harmon respond to an article that criticised the way he handled his Twitter feed. Harmon’s response in the video made light of the situation while also giving some explanation as to where he was at psychologically and emotionally at the time. An interesting process that had no real point except maybe for Harmon to entertain by using his own life as the canvas, but I think my takeaway from it is that life doesn’t stop even when you’re making art.

Being a creative person doesn’t exclude you from being a human. For most of your life, you might get caught up in your own head, but it doesn’t exclude you from the world around you, or from criticism of how you choose to interact with that world.

I’ve had my breakfast and I’m now on my second cup of coffee. The anxiety has passed.

Yes, I’m going to be under a little extra pressure over the next ten days to reach this new goal (as well as prepare the submission), but it’s not impossible. And I don’t have to pull the plug on everything else like I anticipated I would have to in that freak out moment.

I’ve already proven to myself that I can do 1,000 polished words in a day. It’s not hard to do this if I stick to the plan and remain focused. So that’s the new goal and I’ll keep a tally here to update you on my progress.

No time for bonus content, so I’ll just share the Youtube video instead. It’s good for a laugh.

Stay safe.

 

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