So, I didn’t finish 50,000 words in November. I’m still not done. “The second time is always harder,” says Frasco. “But why?” I ask. The second time you know more. You’re competing against yourself, and you want to break your own record.
I talked with Frasco and Moser the night I realized I wasn’t going to meet the goal. Moser says that the anticipation of creating, in whatever medium we’re using, is the important thing. Overcoming the muteness of a blank page and expressing something, anything, is what is important, even the simple “I was here.”
The practice of sustaining momentum in creative work is so challenging. There’s a kind of mental energy needed that I found it hard to muster up this month, because of emotionally draining events. I kept coming back to my word count, but once I fell behind I couldn’t catch up and keep the quality acceptable to my own standards. I knew from last year that writing pure jibberish wasn’t useful. Besides, I can write 160 words per minute on my stenography machine, so it would technically only take me five and a half hours to do the whole thing if I didn’t care what I was saying. But I do care, and I care more this year than last year.
So, where do I go from here? There’s no question that I’m going to finish this. But I want a new goal. From what I’ve written I can see that I may have more to tell of this story than 50,000 words, so I’m pushing the goal to 60,000 and giving myself more time.
Two weeks from today I’m reading in the East Village as part of the FIZZ reading series with Red Lemonade. I’m nervous but confident, the time I spent polishing the draft in November when I could have been raising my word count was well spent.