Recently, I took up an old writing project.

Since I finished Project: GREY’s 2nd draft last week, I have a little bit of time before I need to begin 3rd draft edits. April 1, actually, so only a few days away. No, I’m not sweating while typing this, you are! (You actually might be, based on how Phoenix’s weather is changing….what did we do to anger the Sun God this time…?)

With that free time I thought, “Hey! Why don’t I try finishing an old project?”

Something I began, but never wrote until completion, either because I thought it was bad or because the content of the story didn’t cry out to me. Whatever. It was my time to go, sit, and finish something. Always finish your work, professional authors say. Good or bad, get it done.

So, I found Project: GREY, a handwritten novel I began over the summer of 2018 and never completed. I was inspired by Neil Gaiman’s process of handwriting all of his books, with “thinking through your words so you write less” being my guiding light. The story was plotted, the materials were bought, and the start time was given. June-July. Annnnnnnnnnnd g-

-but sometime in September I gave up. Quit. It wasn’t working. I felt…off? I guess that’s a way to put it. Knowing what was supposed to come in the story made me not want to write. With no other option, I put it away, a failed experiment that taught me a lot.

Handwritten Novels
Title page. A little bit of encouragement to get me going.

But, over Spring Break I had an epiphany.

The problem wasn’t with the book, but the ending! It slapped me in the face out of nowhere. Once I knew how to change the finish line it suddenly was like I had a second wind. I was ready to go. Handwriting a novel can take a lot out of you, but with the right novel plan it’s not hard. I recall a few chapters which were 16-20 pages long that I zipped through.

So, I developed a plan. 6 pages a day, for 5 days, then 5 pages a day, for 2 days. This should allow me to finish the book right at the start of April, when I need to begin 3rd draft edits on Project: GREY.

But…I missed Monday.

Strangely, I kind of knew this was going to happen. Something deep inside told me I wasn’t going to be able to sit at a desk and handwrite a book. Maybe it was a premonition, or fate, or a calling reaching out to me from beyond the aether to tap me on the brain and yell in my mental ears holes, “Hey! You’re not going to be able to do this today! Sorry!”

So, what…? Do I just give up?

Handwritten Novel
If you follow my Instagram, you already know the answer…

Setting lofty goals is important, dare I use a Thesaurus and say…*checks Thesaurus…”Critical.” However, not meeting those lofty goals is no reason to not keep trying. That’s a lesson I have to keep teaching myself, over and over, again and again. As an educator, this lesson irony is not lost on me.

You can’t master baking a cake after reading the recipe once.

That’s what I used to tell my student when they didn’t read the story more than once before answering questions.

Setting a goal is a lesson.

Sometimes, you score a Profecient, proving your mastery over that goal. Others, you get a Falls Far Below and need to try. All. Over. Again.

Teacher talk. Very relatable.

So, I didn’t write 6 pages on Monday. Is that going to mess up my progress for the week? Yeah. Am I going to finish up all of Project: HARP by Sunday night? Probably not. Do questions asked back to myself help advance this blog post and increase my word count? Why you think I’m doing this?

Goals are set, and as long you’re at least crawling towards them on your belly, mouth in the dirt, but there’s a little more behind you than in front of you, you’ll get there.

Just another signpost in the desert to reach.

Thanks for reading,

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