The end. They were the 51,418th and 51,419th words I wrote in a long and messy document I had been working on for weeks. And on the 27th day, I typed those words and closed the lid to my laptop, and basked in the revelation that I had successfully accomplished a goal that I had set out for myself at the beginning of the year. And even though I did it 11 months after I made that goal, I had still done it. And it was one of the major things I had planned to accomplish all my life that I could now cross off my bucket list of things to do before I die.
I had written a book.
Sure, the book sucks. It is full of grammar mistakes, too little description in some areas, and too much description in others. There are parts that I need to move from the beginning towards the end of the story, and vice versa. There are other parts that I need to rewrite to change details and add missing pieces. And then there are the parts that I need to just delete – and deny that they ever existed. But it doesn’t matter how bad it is right now. It just matters that I wrote it, and I can actually say, if someone were to ask me, that yes, I have written a book in my life***.
I do not write this to gloat. Ok, maybe a little. But really, I write this because this goal of mine that I accomplished was one that was my anchor for so many years. I’m going to write a book someday. It was always a promise I made to myself, promising that on this “some day” I would fulfill this lifelong dream and get a bunch of words on paper that would equal the same size of a small to large novel that could one day be placed between two hard pieces of material and bound into something called a book. When was this “some day”? Not today, that’s for certain. Today is too scary of a day to get something that huge out of the way. But “some day” was the perfect day to get that done. But when exactly was “some day”??? Doesn’t matter. It only mattered that it wasn’t today.
Yeah, it’s pretty clear that “some day” was turning into “not in this lifetime”.
So November 1st (along with thousands of people who take part in some crazy scheme called NaNoWriMo), I made “some day” today. And I even struck a bargain with God in this one. I told him that I didn’t even care if I gained weight this month, that’s how important it was to fulfill this goal.
Um, sidenote here. Please be careful what you say in prayers. Yes, my goal is done. But I also have a little extra padding from some major sit-itis and impulsive snacking while chained to my laptop.
At any rate, the biggest reason I put this here is because we all have goals in our lives to fulfill. The year is almost over. How far did you get on your New Year’s Resolutions, or any goals that you have set for yourself this year? Have you lost that extra weight you gained from last year? Have you successfully run a whole mile or more without stopping? Have you learned that new language, or signed up for that group you’ve been meaning to join? Have all your photos made it from your computer to glossy prints that are now safe in a photo album ready to be viewed by all your friends and family?
Have you accomplished your goal?
This really rough excuse of a book I just finished was written in a very short amount of time. At the beginning of the month, I saw 50,000 words to write. That is roughly 85 single-spaced typed pages or so, the same size as The Great Gatsby, by Ernest Hemingway. That is a lot for someone who has never written a book before. And that huge number is enough to make someone throw in the towel. But know what isn’t a huge number? 1,667 words, or about 3 pages. That is the minimum I had to write every day to ensure that I could finish this goal in 30 days. And at first it was hard. The story was still working its way out in the beginning, and sometime 1,667 felt a bit large. But know what happened after awhile? The story began to write itself. And some days I ended up with almost 6,000 words. And as the total number grew to 25,000 to 37,000 to 48,000, I suddenly found a second wind inside of me that saw that yes, I could do this. And that is why, on the 27th day, I sat at my computer and typed until those final words could end the goal I had set so many years before.
So make your “some day” today. Don’t wait. Make a plan, and stick to it. Envision the finish line. And then set tiny goals that lead up to fulfilling that major accomplishment. Make the action of crossing that one item off your bucket list a reality.
As for my goal next year? I see months of revisions in my future.
***No, you cannot read it. No, it has not been published. No, a publisher will not be anywhere near it for a very long time, if ever. I have written a book, but I have not published a book. One goal at a time.
P.S. Did anyone join me this year in NaNoWriMo? How’d you fare?