Yesterday I had a down day, and this in spite of it snowing, which I love. (The dog loves it, too – having snow thrown on her is one of her favourite things, and she’d play that game until hypothermia set in if I didn’t keep an eye on her!)
I felt I was failing at several things. I’m not up to word count on NaNoWriMo, and I’m getting bored with this novel. I really want to think about the next draft of my YA novel, and about another story in the same world. I’d designed a Christmas card, but it was going to take me for freakin’ ever to make them. I wanted to change my mind on both these things and do something more fun.
And after several months of training – actually, about six months – my dog has still not unlearned the habit of begging. She got this habit from the hairdressers next door to where we used to have the pet store. The ladies adored her, and they would feed her bits of their lunch while she sat there staring attentively at them. She knows I won’t give her anything if she begs, and I know David doesn’t do it, either, but I have no idea how long she was successful at begging. It takes time. Yesterday I was feeling discouraged.
I confessed all my failures to David, just wanting to get them off my chest.
“You’re not failing,” he said. “First, you can’t fail at NaNoWriMo. The point is to get you to write.”
“You can fail to meet the goal,” I said.
“So? You’ve already written a novel this fall. Cut yourself some slack. Second, just make a different Christmas card. How about cardinals? The cardinal pop-up is really nice.”
“I did a bird last year. It feels like cheating.”
“Most people just go out and buy a box of cards, okay? It’s not cheating to do the cardinal. If it’s not fun, why bother doing it? You only do the cards because you enjoy them. And you’re not failing with the dog. She’s smart – she knows it worked before, and she’s going to push it. You’ll get her retrained. It just takes time.”
So I’m cutting myself some slack. I’m quitting NaNoWriMo and going on to something else I want to do instead. I’m making a different Christmas card, most likely the cardinal. Maybe I’ll do some bluejays, too. Or a Green Man.
As for the dog – persistence and consistency. I’ve said for several years that those are the only two things you need to train a dog. Sky, too, is persistent. Begging worked for her, probably for months. She can’t believe that it won’t work again. But we’ll get there.
I’ve accomplished a lot this fall, and this year. Maybe I do just need to cut myself some slack. I have some flash fiction and short story ideas I want to pursue. I’ll put the novel aside for now and do those.