“You only fail if you stop writing.” – Ray Bradbury.
I came across this quote shortly after posting last week’s grim update. In it, I had effectively given up writing until the fog of my medications cleared. And who knows how long that would be? Bradbury’s words pulled me back. Yes, I might create a “stinking pile of offal”—as I described it in the post—but it’s better than abandoning something I’ve worked decades at.
Another quote further motivated me: “Write even if it deserves to be thrown in the trash.” I found this in an article about the habits of prolific writers (which inspired some of the below). This line changed my mindset. I will write. I’ll fight tooth and nail to get it on the page and it may be unreadable once it’s done, but I can say I didn’t fail.
So, what I am going to do with this newfound positivity? Start fresh!
Author Jay Wilburn recently wrote an article for LitReactor that helped me with this. He talks about March being the month in which most people abandon their resolutions, but how it’s also the best time to start with new ones.
I recommend reading the article, even if March has already passed. He describes January and February as a “trial period.” We see what works and what doesn’t. And with that new perspective, we can change, tweak, or discard our resolutions.
At the end of the article, Wilburn adds to what Bradbury said: “If it’s the progress and practice that really count, then as long as you don’t quit now, you haven’t truly failed.”
To start afresh, I’m re-evaluating my resolutions to reflect my current situation. Here are my goals moving forward:
Focus on short stories
I’m not abandoning Generica. Once I get it back from the editor, I’m hoping to make the finishing touches and begin the submission process. But I want to learn—and hone—the art of the short story. I’ve fallen out of the habit of writing a short story every week. With my current situation, that just isn’t possible. But I want to treat the short form like something to master, which means I need to practice, practice, practice.
Drown myself in books
I love that expression. Rather than focusing on the quantity of books (I said 60 in my resolutions), I hope to simply devote every free moment to reading. My brain troubles will limit this greatly, but I’ll try as hard as I can. I also intend to read more anthologies and collections as I focus on writing short stories.
Write 200+ words a day and 10,000+ a month
Foolishly I said that I would write 500 words daily without fully realizing just how difficult that is to maintain—and that was before the med change. That said, the daily goal won’t be as important as the monthly goal. Back in my prime, I could write 10,000 words in 4 days, but with my current state, it’s more than ambitious.
This blog post is my first step on a positive, productive journey. The two days I worked on it, I made sure I got my 200 words in. Next, I hope to work on actual fiction. It might be terrible—it probably will be—but Bradbury’s words will stick with me:
You only fail if you stop writing.