Some weeks ago, I wrote a few words in my diary. At the time, they seemed accurate for my state, fitting perfectly to what I was feeling. And, in fact, it is what I was feeling, but they were not accurate. Those words were these:
“I have only managed to write 500 words today. I am not able to write the 2,000 words I was supossed to. Nothing really has happened to me on this day. But I don’t feel motivated to write anything more. Not now, maybe tomorrow. This sucks. Tonight is not my night.”
Spanish version: Esta noche ni es mi noche
This feels awful, horrible, too much over the top if it is read out of its context. It seems to be the worst thing that could have happened to me in a long time (mainly if we keep in mind I always try to be positive and motivate myself even in the darkest hour).
However, this is so, so wrong… And in so many levels.
Does any of my fellow artist/readers feel related to this? I think some of you (if not, most of you) have felt like so at least once in your lives, if not more. It is great for us to have a plan to follow in order to create better, and to set some goals (for each year, month, week and day), but we can’t let ourselves down for just missing a goal on a certain day, mainly if the rest of the days we are doing great. The creative process can be tedious and demanding, so we have to cheer ourselves up if we plan to continue creating.
On the day that, that “tonight” I wrote those words, I was feeling so down I was blinding myself from realising the truth behind that: I was focusing on ONLY writing 500 words, instead of realising that I AT LEAST wrote 500 words. It wasn’t horrible at all, it was great! Yes, I wasn’t able to reach my daily goal, but I do now remember that I was able to even surpass that goal on some other days, so my “worrying” situation about that had no sense at all. Maybe I wasn’t able to do that, but the whole picture was still great. And that was my huge mistake, and not “not reaching my goal”.
However, this situation didn’t come for a change in just a day, not even a week. Going from “It’s great I wrote 500 words today!” to “It’s awful that I only wrote 500 words today…” is a process of weeks, even months, of hard work and continuous motivation to go from 0 to that point of feeling bad about writing less, but still being writing. Months ago, when I forced myself to write 50,000 on the month of November because of NaNoWriMo, I came from writing barely a couple hundreds words a day to writing around 1,700 words on daily basis. And, let me tell you: those “couple hundreds words” were ON AVERAGE, which means that, some days, I would write 3,000 words and, for the next week, I would write nothing at all.
How it continued
From the 1st of November, I changed that horrible habit of doing “nothing or everything” to writing a proper quantity of 1,500-2,000 words each day. I think I missed only a couple of days on that month, which translated into a week writing just +200 words per day. And, at that ratio, it was not problem.
On the following months, I struggled a bit and I had several “tonight”. Then I managed to write +30,000 words and, finally, I struggled a little bit more on May and June, due to personal and family stuff. So I used the “excuse” of Camp NaNoWriMo for July and motivated myself to keep writing everyday and focusing on a great quantity on average per day as well. And that’s when I wrote that “quote” of mine.
Now you can easily understand that I was used to writing a certain quantity, or at least a bare minimum to overcome, but I, as said before, blinded myself from observing the thruth and the real evolution that happened within myself. Of course, I can’t get used to writing just a few words per day, but a day is a day, and it is going to do nothing to my whole goal, because, in order to overcome an unproductive day, I just need to work a little bit harder the following days.
The Reality of the Situation
What I need to realise is that I have suffered an evolution, a huge and great one, and on those days that I feel less motivated whatever I try to do, I just need to remind myself where I started and where I am at the present moment, in order to realise my progression.
This is my advice: It is great to try and be better and always improve. But never forget where you started at. So you can both never lose track of your path and continue with a realistic and motivating perspective of yourself. See your improvement, enjoy what you have achieve and acknowledge your work, as well as the process and effort it has taken you to get to the point where you are. Celebrate the goals you have already reached and set new ones that are achievable and realistic. Allow yourself to have worse (“tonight”) and better days, and to try and have a nice average in total. All these are all steps of the creative process, in order to be better. Don’t deny them, don’t miss, just accept it as part of your journey.
I can repeat it now: tonight is not my night. But it will be 🙂
Don’t forget to read these posts!