I guess if I really wanted to get into the reasoning behind this strange urge, it involves the satisfaction of finishing something and seeing the immediate results of achieving a set goal. Instant gratification is a heady thing, and there’s nothing like staring at a clean broom closet to make me feel all…satisfied.
The satisfaction from a good day of writing is a different sort of beast altogether. For one thing, it takes me a lot longer to write a novel than to clean out a sock drawer. If I want to feel the satisfaction of doing a good job every day, I need to break my writing goal into daily bits. That’s why I usually work out how many words a day I need to write, or how many pages a day I need to revise, and etc..
Even so, my perspective on if I’ve had a good writing day can get a little screwy. For the longest time, it wouldn’t matter if I’d hit the goal or even surpassed it. By the end of the day I would always wish I’d done more, better, different, faster because there was always more, better, different, faster to be done.
There is no winning with that sort of expectation. There is no standing back to stare at my clean word closet and just feel…satisfied. And while it drove me to try harder and work harder, it also downplayed my accomplishments until I felt like I had none.
Recently, Karen Mahoney (a fellow Deadline Dame) linked to this post on Accomplishment Amnesia. I realized I had fallen into some of those very same habits, and needed to find a new modus operandi for recognizing what I was getting done, instead of just what I hadn’t gotten done yet.
I’m working on it. I think I’m on a healthier path now, one that has far less stress and far more happy-writer-with-clean-cupboards. I’m writing every day, leaving my desk with a sense of satisfaction at night, and even remembering to blog more often. Plus, my broom closet shines.
How about you? Have you ever forgotten your accomplishments or downplayed daily goals? Do you take the time in your busy life just to feel good about what you’ve done?