Thursday, July 31, 2014

The End and the Beginning

Operation Overdrive has come to an end. Sort of.

I started this month with a big idea: to write a 75,000 word novel, posting daily blog posts, poems and videos. 31 days to do an awful lot of work, whether I did the novel or the daily posts. Attempting to do everything, that was where I fell behind.

And, life got in the way. But that's okay. That will happen.

I don't consider Operation Overdrive a failure, however. Quite the contrary. I think, with everything I did, it's been a success of sorts. I've managed to get back to blogging in a way that makes me happy. I've managed to put out a lot of poems, some of which were quite popular as far as my little poetry and prose blog is concerned, and I've managed to get back my confidence in front of a camera for my YouTube channel.

I've also discovered that I can't force myself to write a book if I only end up feeling guilty about not doing anything else.

Is this a problem for the dream of being a writer? No. It's a problem for any future attempts at NaNoWriMo in any way, shape or form. At least, not when the word count target is set to 150%.

The issue, you see, was trying to balance the workload when I was finding myself at my busiest, when I was working more hours in the bookshop, and when the sun was actually shining in Ireland. (Honestly - we had a weird summer.)

I know that I can write a novella in a week.

I know that I can write a non-fiction book using all of my spare time during a busy period.

I now know that I cannot dedicate a whole month to a book, while doing everything else in my life that I don't have any control over - like work, or babysitting, or burning up in the heat - because I will only tire myself out.

Part of the issue, for me, has been sleep, though. I haven't gotten much lately. We're talking the past couple of months. Since the sun started shining brightly in the morning, I haven't been able to sleep on past six most of the time. But this is after going to bed at twelve. I was drained, and that made me too groggy to start work earlier. The end result was guilt. Guilt at doing anything that wasn't writing. Guilt that carried over into the book. Guilt at trying something new.

And that last one? That's where the biggest issue for me was this month. I bought a new camera, my first DSLR. I wanted to take photographs. I wanted to practice, to get better, to really improve upon the very basics of photography that I had. And every time I did that - guilt.

Bad. Very bad.

That's why I left the book behind. I made a conscious decision, when I found myself incapable of writing the book because of how badly I felt for not doing it as much as I should have, to drop it. Not forever. Just until I get a couple of things in order. I have other books to write. I want to practice my photography more.

Operation Overdrive finishes today, officially, but the aftermath is this:

I want to write blog posts more often. I want to record videos more often, and I want to put more effort into them than a direct upload. I want to write poems with greater purpose for ParagraVerse. I want to set up a photography blog - and a business - and I want to get out more to take photographs. I want to write a couple of books that have been on my mind for a long time, and I want to continue to write my novel.

The month is over, but the desire to create, and the aspiration that I began with, they've only grown stronger.

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