Party people in the place to be! What’s crackin?! It’s Tuesday and that means I’m talking. Yes I know I missed the last couple of Tuesdays (and you missed the last couple weeks of spontaneous commentary)—yeah yeah yeah, I know. Why you bringin up ol shit? I’m here now and I got stuff to talk about.
If you are one of the fortunate 328 friends of mine of Facebook, you saw me post something about a 30 year old ninja and some thought-provoking questions about the remaining 99 days of 2013. For those of you who didn’t make the cut, here’s the background: I follow a blog by Izzy the 30 Year Old Ninja (yes, that’s really the name) and it’s by a guy who woke up one day, decided he really wanted to be a ninja, packed his shit, and moved to Japan. Giggle if you want to, my man said he wanted to be Batman and is learning how to do it. His point is simple: if there is something you want to be or do in life, stop bullshittin, get off your ass and do it. He does say this in a much more Tony Robbins-ish manner but you get the gist of it. And what you can say? This dude is not rich, he’s not an actor or an activist—he’s a pasty, slightly out-of-shape white dude who wants to be awesome.
Can’t blame him for that, can you?
Anyway, when you join his site he sends you emails. Most of them, admittedly, I delete (I am OCD about alerts on my phone and most email alerts come between midnight and 5am—if you want me to read your email, send it after 7am. Just sayin). But today, it caught me. It simply said, “You Have 99 Days…” Title got me curious, I clicked it and was given this breezy little story about how Izzy (the ninja) called his sister yesterday and told her she had 100 days left in the year. Then he decided the share that info with the rest of us, but waited a day so we only had 99. Ass. But there are these questions he asks that bothered me:
- What results do you want to get over the next 99 days?
- What sacrifices will you make to get these results?
- If something is going to stop you, what will it be?
Those are real questions. Like the real, deep kind of questions. The ones that make you be honest with yourself, about what you’re doing and what you’re not doing. Shit. And everybody I shared them with had the same response that I did: I don’t freaking know—which is code for “I really wasn’t prepared for you to ask that question and now you’re making me be honest with me, and I wasn’t ready for that.” Yeah, neither was I.
Now before I delve into what my answers are, I have to say that if this blog post runs into Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, I’m gonna do you guys like Cartman: Screw you guys, I’m going home! I’ve been looking forward to this show since they announced it and some wannabe ninja who’s soft in the middle ain’t gonna ruin it for me.
So, question by question (heavy sigh), here goes:
What results do you want to get over the next 99 days?
I am admittedly bullshitting on this latest novel. Seriously bullshitting. My first draft left PLENTY to be desired. Inconsistent character arcs, unclear objectives, a rushed ending, unrealistic romance (yes, ROMANCE people! I’m multifaceted). The challenge of this novel is different than anything else I’ve ever written. And it matters more to me. It cements the fact that I am a writer, a real author, capable of telling more than one story. Able to handle the production end of this business. It’s a “you can do it!” moment for me and I’m scared of failing. So my results I want to get over the next 99 days are to finish Come Hell or High Water as best as I possibly can.
What sacrifices will you make to get these results?
Apparently sleep is the greatest sacrifice I have to make. That and time with my family. They understand, sure, but that makes it that much more imperative for the book to be as good as possible. It has to be worth it. But more than anything, I have to sacrifice my own fear. I have to accept that I was given this story for a reason, that I was “chosen”—either by the story or something greater—because I have to tell it. And it’ll be good. I have to trust that.
If something is going to stop you, what will it be?
Me. Honestly, the biggest impediment to my own success in this endeavor is me. My fear. My lack of faith in my own abilities. My nonsensical fear of success (that’s fodder for another post). It’s nothing external, barring the cost for editing and my cover and turning my masterpiece into epub and Kindle files—the barriers to success are internal. And I have to deal with that.
There you have it folks. There’s my soul on the page or screen or whatever, exposed, “like a nerve” (I’m still in Avengers/Agents of SHIELD mode). And lucky you, I finished this with 21 minutes to spare.
That’s the deal. Answer those questions yourself, either in the comments or in the mirror.
See ya Friday!
1. The result I want – sell a crapload of copies of my novel when it comes out December 2nd, as well as a crapload of copies of my other shorter works (including a couple that I need to publish by then).
2. Sacrifices – stop wasting so much time online, and just write and edit.
3. What’ll stop me – procrastination and just too much going on, especially between job, grad school, kid, and writing-related stuff.
I think I’m having the same problem every writer has – time management.