I submitted my first three things of this month today. According to the goal I laid out for myself, these should be Submissions 11-13, instead of 1-3. I had a wonderful, wonderfully busy week, but procrastination creeps into the picture as well. On the other hand, I did get three things out, which compared to most days is a success. I guess what I am wondering right now is if I’m doing better than usual, but not as well as I want to be doing, is that a step forward or back? Do I mark this day up as a (small) success, or a mad scramble to cover last week’s slacking?
I’ve historically struggled with how to judge my own achievements. I tend to have much higher standards for myself than for other people around me, so that the fact that I think a fellow student or co-worker is doing a good job is not enough to translate for me into thinking I am doing well, too, even if I am doing as well or better. One of my best friends got used to me having a crisis whenever a new story was due.
“Of course it won’t be a train wreck,” she’d say. “How do I know? Nothing else has been a train wreck so far, and you are working really hard on this.”
And when I do work hard, it’s true, I tend to do very well on the projects I take on. But is this working hard? If I do three or four submissions every day this week, I can catch up, so maybe today is good, but that still leaves all the other days to consider. What I think I would really like to do is join one of those writer’s groups I hear people talking about from time to time. Kind of like my MFA classes, except instead of pushing us to read new, good stories and try to write new, good stories ourselves, this group could just kick all of us in the pants to send things places. I’d probably still get paranoid about whether I was making any progress, but it would be nice to ask some more people if they feel the same way I do.