I was writing along today, enjoying myself, working on a cute little scene between the hero and the love interest, and WriteMonkey’s little heads-up display bar ticked over. It does this constantly, tracking word count, the time I’m writing in the current session, the time until the next save (WM can be configured to save automatically, as often even as every five seconds. This is a feature I laughed at when I first started writing with it, but it has actually saved me a couple of times. Not the every five seconds thing. That’s excessive to the point of lunacy. The automatic save thing. Every thirty seconds has been more than sufficient.). Nifty little program, as I’ve said before. But today’s little tick was more significant than most, because today the progress meter ticked over to 50%.
See, way back when I started writing, I set a goal of ninety thousand words for this little endeavor I’m tarrying away at, the way a man who’s never run a step in his life might stand at the start line of the Boston Marathon and say, okay, the finish line is out there somewhere. The way I imagine the Apollo astronauts looked up at the moon and said, “There it is.” The way, perhaps, that my dog watches the mail truck driving by and thinks, “one day.” At the time, it seemed lofty, massively optimistic, and even a little foolish. A goal so distant and unattainable it might as well have been on Pluto (alas poor Pluto, we hardly knew ye). WriteMonkey merrily and quietly accepted the leviathan goal I had set for myself and popped a happy little 8% indicator down in the corner. Every day I write a few more words and it increases, one tick at a time.
That was (wait, let me check) 44 days ago. 44 proper days, mind you, not 44 writing days (weekends are for not working!). 44 days! A month and not quite a half to hit the halfway point. I’ll save the champagne and the sparklers for a more momentous occasion, but suffice it to say, I am pretty jazzed. Having been a runner for a little while, running metaphors spring naturally to mind; it’s like reaching the turnaround point on a long run. It was hard work to get here, and it will be hard work to get back, but there’s nothing for it – nobody’s going to drive out here and pick my tired, dehydrated asgard up. Mile 13.1 of a marathon: you’ve come this far, it’s nonsense to even think of not finishing now.
It’s hard to believe that I’ve written so much. Forty-five thousand words is no small chunk of writing. I don’t want to dump on myself too badly, but I’m a little bit surprised that I’ve done so well. Frankly, I expected of myself a lot more waffling, a lot more excuses, a lot more days when I just didn’t feel like getting the work done, and a lot of not actually meeting my goals. At the risk of sounding like a jerk, I know Past Me pretty well, and that guy is LAZY. But Past Me is trying to change his ways, Present Me is holding the course, and Future Me is reaping the benefits of our sticktoitiveness. Granted, our sticktoitiveness is creating for that guy an ever growing pile of hog slobber that he’s going to have to go wading through to find the tasty bits, but hey, that’s a problem for THAT GUY.
It’s pretty overwhelming to look at how far I’ve come and how much (or rather how LITTLE) I have left to go. It almost makes me sad to think that I’m entering the downward slope of this thing. To think that in 45 days (assuming I stay productive over the summer, KNOCK ON FARGOING WOOD) I could have a finished draft of this story that I never actually thought I’d get around to turning into a book … I just don’t know what to say. It suddenly feels real in a way that it hasn’t really felt real despite all the work I’ve been putting in.
Who knew that this was something that was legitimately within my capabilities? I sure as sharknado didn’t. I fully expected, on a level I didn’t and haven’t and probably won’t talk about, to end up in a ditch after a few weeks, sobbing internally as I walked away from the smoldering wreckage of another failed project. I still feel like I’m cheating fate a bit to be where I am. I spend my writing time trying not to think about how far I’ve come and thus how far I have to fall. If I don’t think about it so much, I can keep walking the tightrope. If I don’t look out the window, I don’t have to think about the plane crashing into a mountain. If I keep putting one foot in front of the other, I just might reach that finish line after all.
Forty-five thousand words to go. Suit up.