It’s Okay to Fail

Yesterday morning, I woke up exhausted.

I allowed myself to switch the alarm off, and roll over, and go back to sleep. Because I knew, if I got up and forced myself to write, it was going to be an uphill climb for no reward and I’d leave my writing spot (the couch) feeling more tired and more defeated than before. Sometimes you just have to accept that a day is not going to work, and be kind to yourself while you’re at it. It’s okay to fail.

And on my way to work, I thought ‘what am I doing? Why am I doing this to myself? Why am I heaping on all of this pressure to finish this work that nobody cares about but me? No one’s going to care if I miss my self-imposed deadline. No one’s going to care if I call it all off. I could just call it all off.’

For a moment, (no, actually it was a good couple of hours) I thought how good it would be to have free time, and to use that free time on things that relax me, and to not feel guilty because I’m not stationed at the keys pounding out words on a project that nobody gives a damn about, sometimes including me.

I thought very seriously about withdrawing my public declaration of a goal of a first draft by 1 November. I told myself I’d still write, but without the pressure, without the sense of impending failure and subsequent doom. But who am I kidding? I’d write. A paragraph. A page. A chapter even, if I was on a roll. And then it would all disappear when my mood changed again. That’s my MO, after all.

If I take away my deadline, there’s nothing to keep me on track. I already know I’m not going to make the deadline. The maths doesn’t work unless I have a couple of 5k days, which we all know are like lightning strikes.

I already know I’m not going to make the deadline. But I’m still going to try.

I could change it, shift the goalposts, but I know if I do that once I’ll just do it again. Because I’ll have proven that I can. And it’s the easy way out.

I love an easy way out.

I already know I’m not going to make the deadline, but I know that every word I have on this story on 1 November is a word I didn’t have when I started. It’s something. A nugget that can be polished. You can’t edit a blank page.

So my deadline remains the same. I’m starting the Zero Draft Version Four today, and I will get to where I get to on 1 November, and then hopefully be able to complete the project during NaNo.

And I’ll have this post to come back to. To remind myself that it’s okay to fail, as long as you’re learning.

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