So, it’s day 41 of the #100DayProject. I actually had to look that up off Elle Luna’s Instagram because somehow I had lost track of the actual count in the past couple of weeks. I don’t know if it’s the time of year, the season, both calendar-wise and just the place my life is in right now, or it’s all the very big events going on in my family, but the days seem to be going faster and slower. I’m constantly feeling like I’m running out of time, and yet also constantly surprised at how little of it has passed.
That’s why it’s both surprising and somehow not surprising to discover it’s been more than a month since I started my 100 Day Project. It seems too long and too short a time. But with that realization comes another. I haven’t touched the story in more than a week.
I started my Project with a novel, a fanfic actually, and the follow-up to one I wrote, semi-accidentally, last year. I had been going pretty well with it. Not at a NaNoWriMo pace but consistent, which is always the key in any kind of daily challenge. Until about a week ago when, for whatever reason, I stopped.
I’m not all that surprised. It wasn’t anything big. Life just happened. That’s how it is. You’re too tired, too stressed, too preoccupied with all the other stuff, and you figure, one day couldn’t hurt. And I’m also not surprised that that day turned into two and then three and then it’s been more than week since I’ve even looked at the thing.
That’s how it goes. Daily challenges aren’t exactly habits, though they can build them. You forget to shave one day, you quickly realize it, and you’re back to the routine tomorrow. You forget to write one day, though, and it makes it easier to not write the next day. And the next and the next. And next thing you know, it’s been a week since you’ve even looked at the thing.
But what was interesting about the realization that I had let the story fall by the wayside wasn’t that it had happened. Like I said, I’m not surprised. It’s happened before. But what surprised me was that was okay with it.
That’s not to say I no longer want to finish it. I very much do. But I’m okay with the fact that I haven’t worked on it in a week. And that’s a big deal for me.
This isn't the first time I’ve dropped the ball on a project. This isn’t the first time I’ve let a good thing fall out of habit. That’s why it’s not surprising. But any time I would have let that happened, I would be devastated. The mere realization would bring with it a wave of self-criticism and self-loathing. How could I? I made a commitment and here I was completely ignoring it. What kind of writer did I expect to be? At this rate it would never be finished.
Only I didn’t feel that way. And it makes me feel good about my 100 Day Project. In truth, it makes me feel like I haven’t stopped it at all.
When I started, I didn’t commit to 100 days of writing, 100 days of working on this story. I committed to 100 Days of Creating. It was a sort of catchall that I’m not too proud to admit was partly because I couldn’t decide exactly what I wanted to do for my 100 Day Project, so I figured I’d start somewhere.
And I did, with the story. But when I stopped writing it consistently, I didn’t stop creating. Far from it. I haven’t been writing the fanfic, but I’ve been writing. Blogging, social media, a bio for my dad’s retirement. And when I haven’t been doing that, I’ve been working on other projects. Mastering social media scheduling thanks to Hootsuite, upping my instagram game. And, oh yeah, #CreateLounge. I run it now. The chats, the social media profiles, everything. That takes creative energy.
That’s why I don’t feel guilty. Because I’ve been busy. I haven’t stopped creating at all, and that’s a big deal for me, for a lot of reasons. Mostly because it is way too easy for me to focus on the things I’m not doing.
I don’t know if it’s the season of the year or just the season of my life, but it seems like every time I think I have things handled, every time I feel like I’ve integrated everything into a working routine, I turn around and discover there’s a ball I’ve dropped, a question I forgot to answer. And it’s far too easy for me to feel devastated by that, like I’m a failure because I forgot that one piece.
That’s why I’m deciding to take this as a good sign. Because I know I could easily let it ruin me. Ignore everything I’ve been working on and instead the one thing I haven’t. But I’m not, and that tells me I’ve changing for the better. I’m not cured by any means. I still get antsy when the conversation moves towards the summer and jobs and places to live. But I’m getting better.
I’m learning that it’s not the end of the world if one ball drops. It’s not the end of the world if I don’t write every day. Because it’ll be there when I’m ready.
And that might be the best part of all. The story is there, waiting for me. I hadn’t so much as looked at in a week, and yet, when I finally returned, when I sat down and started again, I found the words were there. Ready and waiting. Like I hadn’t left at all.
The Story is there, waiting for us. Whenever we’re ready.