Welcome to Day 4. And, OK, this is where it gets harder, or at least it has for me. Usually, I've happily made my word count for the
first three days and hardly broke a sweat. It seemed as if I would be able to waltz through the whole process without incident. But there' something about going from Day 3 to Day 4. People like to say that it takes three days to make or break a habit. I don't know if that's true, but I do wonder if that's got something to do with my typical Day 4 struggle. Maybe that's when the fearful part of my ego that's trying to keep me safe realizes that yikes, I might actually write the book this time.
For that reason, Day 4 is a time to be aware of self-sabotage. That might look like simple self-doubt. It might be a small, hopeless voice in the back of your head. Or it might be a sudden urge to drop everything and go camping. I believe our subconscious minds are truly, utterly, deviously brilliant. The only way to defeat this impulse is to write your word count today no. matter. what. No exceptions. A lot of seeming exceptions might pop up today: But I have class/a long day at work/the flu. But I left my computer at my sweetheart's house. OK, good. But write your 1,000 words anyway, no matter what.
I question these exceptions, not to be a hardass, but because I've seen many, many times in my own life how a conveniently timed problem will pop up when I'm stretching the edges of who I'll allow myself to be. About halfway through my second novel, I somehow told myself that I needed to "get more life experience" (??? was actually just living not enough?) before continuing with the draft. Sometimes it takes people a decade to write a second novel! I told myself. You can't just write another one now, before your first has even been published! Ah, but I did. I was miserable, I hated every moment, I felt like a charlatan, and I started looking around for unambiguously useful careers I could apprentice myself to, because it seemed clear to me that I was all washed up, talentless, craven, and disgusting. But I kept writing because some little glimmer of me remembered that it had felt exactly this way before, and that I was so beyond glad to have pushed through that feeling.
And then, when I read that manuscript again a few weeks ago, I was stunned. I loved it. It needed a lot of work, but I was so glad I hadn't given up.
It's OK if it feels stupid. It's really OK if you write something so cravenly bad that you would rather get in a bus accident than show it to someone. It's OK if you don't believe that this process will work, or you don't believe you can do it.
I believe you can do it. And that's why you handed over some portion of your willingness to me for the next 86 days: I remember that you can do it, even when you have temporarily forgotten.
So, write 1,000 words and give yourself a gold star. Don't go camping (or write your word count in your tent).