Sunday, November 23, 2014

Eyes On The Prize

So here we are. We're coming out of the third corner and into the home stretch. It's been a tough race so far, sloppy to be sure, but not to worry because you were born to slop. You're a mudder. Your father was a mudder. Your mother was a mudder.



So there it is, the finish line. The wire. The tape. THE END.

For some of you it's in your past. You found that extra gear. You turned it up a notch. You dug deep. [Insert another metaphor for overachieving here]. My message to you is simple: CONGRATULATIONS!* You've done what not many people can do and written a novel in less than a month. You should be quite proud. Your job now is to take a moment to feel as awesome as you can about and then turn and look those still in the race and cheer them on.

For some of you the finish line is so far away you're wondering if someone hasn't gone and made the track longer while you were running. That would be a thoroughly jerk move for someone to pull but I can assure you that's not what's happened here. Something did happen though, and that's okay. Life has a gnarly way of getting in the way of things you set out to do. Do not fret because you have a couple options at your disposal:

First, you can just pack it in. Put the pen down, close the laptop lid, open up your Candy Crush app. You gave it a good run and there's absolutely no shame in calling it a day. You started this thing for a reason and by golly you'll finish it at some point, or you won't because it was not meant to be. Hold your head high because you entered the race in the first place.

Next, you can forge ahead. Full steam. Get those legs pumping and crack that whip. Put your head down and go. Find the extra gear. Turn it up a notch. Dig deep. [Insert another metaphor for overachieving here]. If that's what you're going to do, I admire your efforts. You got moxie, kid. Now finish reading this post and get back to work.

Finally, you can find a way to make something else your goal. Remember what I said a few weeks ago about defining success. You're in charge of that, and no one else. Not some website, not your friends or neighbours, not even your mudder mother. Recreate your goal and work toward that.

For some of you the finish line is in sight and every stride down the home stretch brings it closer. Now, if looking at my NaNoWriMo buddy list and checking out the website is any indication, a great many of you are in this position. The finish line is unbearably close. Closer than two protons at the heart of a plutonium atom. Closer than that guy on the subway that has lots of room to his left but decides to stand to the right face to face with you trying to get your noses to touch. [Insert another reference for closeness here]. It is right there.

For all of you, there's only one thing to do. Sit down and write. Set your goal some time sooner than it actually is. Me? I want to be done on Friday so I can have the weekend to rejoice (also, on the 30th I'm taking the kids to see Mythbusters Behind the Myths so that day will pretty much be a wash). So take your remaining words and divide by the number of days and write that amount every day. Just write. It will be hard, oh yes it will be hard. You're tired, you've been running for more than three weeks, and your brain is starting to fail. You're seeing things that aren't there. Don't worry about it, that gnome hitting on your muse has always been there. She'll take care of you, don't you worry. You've been a good scribe for the greater part of a month. Just. Keep.Going.


Even if it's not a photo finish, I'll have my camera ready. See you at the wire.

~ Andrew


* Side note about that word "congratulations": I used to work at this place as a bus boy / dish pig / cleaner / etc... and part of the job was setting up the big sign out front with the message of the day. Every Saturday we'd have one or more weddings and someone would have to go out and put the message "Congratulations so and so" or "Congratulations to all the newlyweds". Well, on the inside of the lid for the container that held all the large plastic letters someone wrote the word "CONGRATULATIONS". You see, the job didn't exactly attract the kids competing in the local spelling bee. Anyway, I always thought it was strange they didn't have the big letter box sectioned off with some of the words that were just always used. It was mostly alphabetical but having a few of those words set aside would have been really useful. Plus, it would have made it easier to slip a "D" in there before the guy who always gave you a hard time and made you clean toilets went out to do the sign.

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