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Preview of My Novel (but not really)

November 23, 2011

The possibility of hitting 50,000 words by the end of the month is now little more than a pipe dream.  Anyone who’s talked to me over the last month knows I’ve been trying (though, admittedly, that isn’t really very many people).  I just can’t seem to force myself to write at that kind of pace, even under the most conducive of conditions.

Many of my friends have been telling me that 50,000 words in 30 days is a stupid goal in the first place.  It’s extremely inflexible, and a novel written in three months will be much better than a novel written in one.  I might as well forget about the deadline, since all it brings me is needless stress.

No one wants to put everything on the line.  

It’s why people put their eggs in different baskets.

It’s why people always save something for the swim back.

It’s why more people than ever before are saying that marriage is obsolete.

It’s why, when asked the OkCupid match question, “What would your ideal partner do if you were up against an impossible challenge?”, most people say they’d prefer that their partner “stand back, but comfort you if you fail” rather than “push you hard to succeed.”

It’s why a guy on OkCupid will send messages to dozens of girls each month, and if the girl who messages him back happens to be his second or third or twentieth choice, that’s fine with him–it’s not like he was keeping count anyway.  

It’s why the pick-up artist community lingo includes the word “one-itis,” the “disease” of falling so hard for a girl that you focus on her to the exclusion of every other girl.

It’s why, as a cure for one-itis, the pick-up artist community prescribes FTOW–fucking ten other women.

It’s probably why polyamory seems to be rising in popularity.

And it’s why a guy can breeze through grade school, graduate from UC Berkeley with a 3.7, have several successful relationships, get a decent-paying job that he loves straight out of college in a bad economy, and still have some areas of his life in which he’s deeply unsatisfied.

I’ve been taught my whole life how to minimize risk.  I have subconsciously developed some pretty elaborate strategies to avoid venturing too far outside of my comfort zone.

Then I started writing a novel, and the level of introspection it forced upon me brought my passivity back into full focus.  I’ve examined with painful scrutiny all the times in my life that I’ve chosen the path of least resistance.  I’ve accomplished a lot, and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, but with very little exception, everything that I’ve done has come easy for me.  The moment a certain path becomes inconvenient or beyond my reach, I create rationalizations for why I should just forget about it.  I tell myself it probably wasn’t meant to be anyway, and that there are plenty of other pursuits in which I’ll have far greater success.

The few times in my life that I’ve challenged myself to go for what I REALLY want, I haven’t had the guts to follow through with it.

I’m going to keep trying to finish this novel, if for no other reason than to say I stuck it out to the very end.  Once I fail, I’ll probably go back to life as usual.  I’ll tell myself that finishing the novel wasn’t really the important thing anyway.  Maybe I’ll be right.

But I hope I never forget what it means to put everything on the line.


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