I don't normally make goals. And when I do- They're more like a kind of guidelines. I hate goals.
Because I can never make the goals I set. It's kind of depressing. When every self-motivated goal that has no consequences that will effect anyone else besides me, just, well, think the cliched New Year's Resolution. (I despise those too, by of way).
Easy solution to depressing-not-succeeding-at-goals problem: Don't make goals.
My mom on the other hand is very into goals. She's says if you don't have goals then you'll never get anywhere.
After pursuing the easy solution lightbulb, I have found she is half right.
Half right because, for me, making goals and not making goals have the same results. Wandering from idea to idea and fizzling out at each one.
So awhile ago, I decided on an Ultimate Writing Goal Until Changed By Later Circumstances (like I said, guidelines).
The Ultimate Writing Goal Until Changed By Later Circumstances: Do not work on any other project until Oddball is finished.
The the guidelines increased in limitation with the addition of a due date. (I hate due dates. Pressure. Grr. Why do I do this to myself?)
Due Date: The first draft of the first book of Oddball must be finished by my next birthday.
That's in February.
Yes, I'm leaning on the freaking-out side.
You know, I thought I could do it. Really. I had opened a blank file on Microsoft and just, excuse me, threw up on the page (this phrase has to be coined into writer terminology). Then November hit with traveling, holidays, school, and prep for finals. And the guidelines became less attainable. . .
The other day, I found something in my room. A fork in the road. I don't know about you, but I prefer my forks beside my plate. Or in my hand, with something yummy on the other end.
This fork resembled a notebook. A thick 400 paged black notebook with a ton of folded stray papers sticking out from between its pages.
Warning: the following paragraphs contain great amounts of backstory. . . on a story.
This is what I was working on before Oddball. When Oddball bumped into me while running from prackles, I didn't commit to writing his story on the spot. I had been working on this other fantasy.
And I was so, so close to actually finishing the first draft of this fantasy. Like, maybe twenty scenes, give or take. And I was so in tune with the characters. The last ten scenes are mayhem to read because it was all pure pantsing (excuse me, non-writers, this probably sounds very awkward to you). I don't normally do that. It was amazing. It reads terrible. But I was so close to finishing.
Then I woke up.
Word of advise: Don't wake up on the home stretch of writing. Ignore reality shaking you, screaming at you. And just keep your eyes shut and dream on. Write "The End." Wake up. Loaf around. And edit.
This fantasy of mine (literally literally) was huge. It was one of my first stories. It has a broad scope and looks at the bigger picture. It's like the World War but in a fantasy world. (I think a lot of fantasies are like this actually. It's like a trait of the genre or something). I had at least ten POV characters. And it was a series. Some of those characters would die later, but there were plenty more POV characters lined up to take their place (I was a very green writer, still am). And I wanted this to be like the main series off other series. To see the war from a different perspectives and how it effected different people in different kingdoms. But I wanted all the major battles, people, and dates to be accurate through the whole thing. Of course.
It was all so beautiful. I loved it. It was, is, how Jane Austen put it, my "darling child".
Then I woke up and realized-
This project is like ginomormously huge.
Way too monsterous for a beginner writer.
I was (am) a beginner writer.
I wanted this story to be amazing. It couldn't be my first story. Or my first draft. Because first drafts don't normally get published. Or so I hear. And as I write more I should progress and get better. I don't want this to be my starter project! I wanted it to be one of my best works.
I'm not sure what I would do if this work wasn't published. Ugh. I don't want to think of it. But I will be honest, I can live with Oddball not being published. I know that sounds terrible. But of all the ideas I've ever had, I couldn't live with Oddball being unwritten, but I could live with Oddball being unpublished.
So I made a simple sacrifice (ha! that phrase is an oxymoron, simple sacrifice, phfft.) I stopped writing the Sandy series (lovely fantasy name, I know :P), and began writing Oddball's story seriously. Because Oddball was supposed to be a standalone with a few POV characters. Perfect for a beginning writer to start off.
Later I realized how cliched some of the Sandy series is. I decided to say good-bye to it. It was a sad day.
Until last year, I had a new twist to it, that would only make it all the more complicated to write. :P The Sandy series was revived. Sort of. In my head, for a later date.
End of backstory. I think.
The other day when I found the notebook buried in a bag, I realized (these realizations just need to leave me alone) that I was so close to finishing this draft. This first draft. Something I've never done. I have two notebooks filled with only notes for this series. I outwrote the main notebook and had to dig up the latter 53 pages of the stuff. That's how ugly this series is.
And is it still cliched? Yeah, it has it's moments. Okay, a lot of moments.
But it's almost February. And this first draft, as opposed to Oddball's, is so near to being finished. If I could finish a first draft, then I could know that I could do it. That I could actually finish something. Well, a first draft at least. I mean, it wouldn't technically be finished, because that would mean readable. For it to be readable, it might also need to be legible. *cough* And rewritten. And edited through and through.
The fork in the road presented two choices.
First Choice: Forget Sandy for now and finish Oddball. Maybe finish Oddball before my birthday. Maybe finish Oddball in ten years. Leave Sandy buried and dump any mad scientist ideas of resurrecting her out the window.
Second Choice: Resume where I left off with Sandy. Try to find the last 53 pages in the rubble in my room. Run the risk of it being really hard to edit later because I'm not as in tune with the characters any more. And finish a first draft before my birthday.
I'm terrible with decisions. But I did decide.
Ten or so POV characters? Yes, I was very much a beginner writer. Very much dreaming. And definitely insane.
New Guidelines: Finish the first draft of the first book in the Sandy series before my birthday.
So it seems I am still an insane beginner writer. Dreaming, of course. Is it shallow of me to change my guidelines because I just want to finish a first draft?
No, don't answer that. Don't wake me until February.