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.