Monday, January 24, 2011

(not so) GREAT Expectations

Have you ever set your expectations so high you were bound to fail?

We do this, all of us. It's one of the reasons modern Americans relish their divorce -- the marriage simply didn't meet the expectations as set forth by our sitcoms and dramas and porn sites.

That's why I'm divorced, I'm convinced of it. She wasn't a bad girl. In fact, she was pretty good. I was a pretty good guy. Pretty Good + Pretty Good = Pretty Good, if you do the math.

So why divorce?

Because I expected more from her. She expected more from me.

Both of us had unrealistic expectations. We expected GREAT, not Pretty Good, and what the hell is GREAT anyway?

But we grow, all of us, I hope, as we age and suffer through life and plunge head-first into the Great Black Nothing from whence we all came.

Great Black Nothing... don't steal that, because it's the focal point of my current WiP.

Which brings me to my current WiP and unrealistic, over-zealous expectations!

See, in November my son was born. I was working a novel at the time, kept working it, and worked it more in December.

Then I showed it to my publisher.

"Didn't grab me," he said.

All right. Sure. I got more where that came from. As the cowboy says about peeling horses: If you've never been thrown, you're not riding hard enough.

So onward I rode. I abandoned that piece and began working on a story he and I discussed and both thought would have potential.

Enter the Great Black Nothing.

Enter my Great Expectations.

Enter my goal to bang out 20,000 words -- yes, 20kw! -- during my two week paternity leave.

Enter my goal to bang out 20kw over the Christmas holidays.

Enter my goal to finish a book by the end of January!

You know, pre-baby, that would have been a reasonable goal. But that little booger stays up ALL DAY LONG! I thought he'd nap more. I thought I wouldn't have a leak in the roof. I thought I wouldn't get into a wreck (no injuries, minor). I thought the car would pass inspection and not need $700 in repairs so I can drive it legally. I thought I wouldn't need to drive my mom to Galveston to see family. I thought Christmas and my time at home would be quieter.

I thought and thought and thought it all wrong.

I thought I could do it, but the fact is, I couldn't, I didn't, I didn't even come close.

I have 12kw, now, and half of those were yoinked from a piece I wrote a year-and-a-half ago. So I really only got about 6kw written.

What's my point? I have no idea.

Don't get disappointed if you miss your goals. I guess that's my point. Set deadlines, stick to them, prioritize what's important, be thankful when you hit your goals and meet your expectations, but don't fret it if you fail.

As every cowboy knows, failure is simply part of the breaking process. You wanna learn to ride, better learn to fall.

Do you have any misses you want to share? Successes are welcome, too, brag away!

- Eric

PS: THANK YOU TO THE WELL-WISHERS WHO EMAILED ME! Always feel free to contact me at saulgoode35 at yahoo dot com. I missed you all, too, and am hopefully back to where I can blog and keep up with what's going on.

15 comments:

Stephanie M. Lorée said...

I fail better on a daily basis.

Anne Gallagher said...

Having been thrown from several horses, my only goal has been to get back in the saddle. As with any expectations, if at first we don't succeed, we must try, try again.

And with the little booger being so darned gorgeous, I don't think the failing of the expectations is so bad. 6K, 12K, it doesn't really matter does it? Not when he's around.

Wine and Words said...

This picture is so adorable...well, really...it's the tongue. I got a concentration tongue in my house too. Anything requiring intense thought, requires an airborne tongue. It's hilarious. I try not to laugh. I wonder if I could concentrate better if I gave it a shot? I tried it. Nope. Just makes me concentrate on my tongue lolling out.

And really Eric....you thought the baby would "nap more?" Are you daft? Things have their pace...intrinsic clocks that do not respond to our winding up, or winding down. We try and force pace, we force fate. Never a good idea. Glad you cut yourself a break in the end.

My misses. You read my blog. You know 'em all. Misses a plenty. I try not to 'should' all over myself, or 'coulda' or 'woulda'. I usually do anyway. But I like the horse analogy. I remember the same of wake boarding. If you don't fall, you're not really trying. Ha! I must be trying now...for all the fallin' ;)

Ann Best said...

LOVED your comment on my blog today about energizing your house! You say people walked in and laughed but were happy. I wonder if anyone's laughing when they "walk into" my blog!? I doubt it. Your house must have been really awesome.

Your little "booger" is. My son (age 41) and his wife had an adorable little boy about 18 months ago. He wasn't a daytime sleeper either!! Dreadful. You don't get any sleep. My second daughter Jen (out of four) had colic for two months night and day. Next daughter didn't sleep through the night for a year! (Oops, probably shouldn't tell you all this LOL). Needless to say, I didn't write a lot in those days. But don't despair. There WILL come a time. Cheers, and just enjoy the journey. You WILL look back fondly, I promise. You're right on: don't get disappointed if you don't miss your goals. Life throws many, many curve balls. Sometimes head-on balls.
Ann Best, Author

Donna Hole said...

LOL. Sorry Eric; but I love your sense of humor, and the way you always get back up on the horse.

Yes; learn to fall and fail better. Words of wisdom. How many times did Edison fail before he hit THE ONE? It only takes one success.

You've been published; you have an awesomely supportive (current) wife; great kids (damn is that baby C U T E). I know, its hard to count blessings in the midst of a life crisis.

You and Stephen King can commisserate on the journey to publication. THE GREAT BLACK NOTHING; what an awesome concept. It does sound inspiring.

Are you working on Evander's Forge? I'm still interested in seeing that one get published. I'm sure others are too.

You're a talented writer Eric, and I bet YOU are you're worst critic. You're a bit overwhelmed right now with so much going on.

But, I don't think any of us has a magical lock on "time management" just yet. Let me know when you invent the process - I could sure use it.

The blogs (mine and your's especially) have missed you. Taking care of life is also your priority, and boy, I don't envy you all your troubles lately.

My heart goes out to you, and your family. Take it slow and easy.

........dhole

Jai Joshi said...

The baby is adorable! Does he sleep all night? If you managed that then you're doing much better than some parents.

6k words really isn't too bad. Congratulate yourself and making that landmark amidst the road trip and leaking roof and new baby. It's a pretty good achievement.

I like to set myself goals and deadlines but I always like to be realistic about it. In fact, I sometimes purposefully overestimate the time it'll take for me to finish something so that when I finish earlier I can then be even happier because I beat my deadline. That's makes me feel good.

Lately, however, I've been missing a lot of goals because of the various life happenings you mention. Like you say, it's ok. It happens to the best of us.

Jai

Raquel Byrnes said...

So glad to see you posting again. Sorry about the rough going lately. Changes always seem to bring out the nihilist in me as well.

I can't believe in the midst of all of that you still managed to get SOMETHING down on paper. Give yourself a break...that's pretty impressive.

Maybe you should host a blogfest to get yourself writing something fun. Maybe a piece with no pressure behind it might help...I'm itching to bring back my ant-searing toddlers anyway.
Edge of Your Seat Romance

Phoenix said...

I have no Epic Fail stories to share with you at the moment so that you can point and go, "Well, at least I'm not THAT girl", but I do fail on an almost daily basis with my expectations of myself. See, I think that I'm some sort of stupid freakin' superhero who should be able to drive 2 hours a day to and from work, then make dinner, do the dishes, do my homework for my classes, and then read a book before bed.

Um. Yeah. About that...

So this year I'm going easier on myself while trying to quiet that panicked voice that equates "going easier on myself" with "LAZINESS." We'll see how it works out.

PS Epic Fail of 2006 - I walked into a tree and gave myself a concussion. Also, at a holiday party last year, I hit someone in the back of a head with a blueberry that I was trying to stab off my plate.

You're welcome.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Hey, I'm concerned. Will your editor give you a bit more time to hammer out that novel?

Life never takes breaks. It only seems to give them. Babies are Nature's way of seeing how little sleep we can manage and still function.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I figured you were being hammered by life and would re-surface when events got less hectic. Yeah, like when does that ever happen, right?

Olivia J. Herrell said...

Yeeehaaa! He's baaaack. And with the cutest darn baby!

Sounds like the last couple of months have been fairly crazy for you. Breathe. I'm glad you're giving yourself a break.

Welcome back, that rebel, Olivia

Christine H said...

Hey there, Eric. I've been wondering what happened to you.

I'm just ROFLMAO right now. Welcome to my life!

Love ya, and glad to see you back even if it's only temporary.

Christine H said...

P.S. I'm sorry if I sounded a little harsh just now. I don't mean to laugh at your troubles. I was just so glad to find out that I'm not the only one. I set my expectations very low and still can't seem to meet them most of the time.

But truly - congratulations on the new family member! He is adorable. And it seems that he's got attitude written all over him. Just like his dad!

Just Another Sarah said...

You still beat me, blogging wise...I took a break in December due to the holidays, and haven't quite got around to posting anything in the new year, yet...

Failure is so part of success. It makes it difficult. And setting goals...yes. That, in fact, is something I'm working on. Even as I write this! BTW, congrats on that adorable baby!

Phoenix said...

Oooh, oooh! And this week, I closed the fridge door on my head... AGAIN.

Just keeping you in the (Epic Fail) loop!

Moana_B said...

Congrats on your gorgeous boy! Their wee years fly by far too quickly. And those are the years that can't be missed, or blurred by other distractions. We should allow ourselves to be human, without any pangs of regret. Stuff takes time, commitment and dedication. Me, I'm mum of three, work, write, blog, shop, cook, wash - oh hell, I could go on. I also blunder and make mistakes when I rush. ‘One thing at a time’ - is my mantra. And ya know, it all gets done, eventually. Enjoy your bub! He's too cute.
Blessings
Moana