We have a saying in crew–fly and die. Essentially, it’s when you come out of the gates going at an unsustainable pace, get part of the way through whatever you’re trying to do, and then fall apart because you pushed too hard at the beginning. We used it mostly in relation to 2K tests, which are horrible things that only take you somewhere between 7 and 9 minutes and yet destroy you for the rest of the day.
I kind of feel that way about ROW80 at the moment.
Oh, not that I’ve come out of the gates too fast. Oh no, far from it. We’re four days in, and I think I have 2 and a half days’ worth of words.
To continue on with my rowing analogy, the way to get through a 2K test is to have a relatively good idea of what pace you can maintain for the entire 2000 meters. Normally, the best way to do this is to base it off of past 2K times, times from other tests (such as 4 or 5Ks, or 500 meter sprints), how you’re feeling and what shape you’re in, etc. If you’ve still got a lot of energy at the end, you know to go faster the next time, and if you just barely make it through, you know you’re probably going at your limits.
ROW80 is an unknown to me. I don’t participate in a lot of writing challenges, so I don’t necessarily have a good idea of what works for me outside of Nanowrimo. And I can’t help but feel, even though we’re only a few days in, that I didn’t pace myself well and am sort of flailing about in an unproductive manner.
And it’s making me anxious, which is no good. Writing is fun, so stressing about it is counterproductive.
Part of it is that I can’t tell how far behind I am, and I don’t know where I should be exactly, and that’s only going to get harder as time goes on and I have to do harder math. Actually, I think that’s a lot of it. Since I don’t know what my pace should be, I can’t tell where I am and how far I have left to go.
So, no doubt, that’s the next step. Figure out my pace. It won’t be hard–there’s tons of Excel worksheets floating around the interwebs that people have made, so I just need to find one and adapt it for my purposes, and then hopefully I shall feel better about the whole endeavor.
And then, it’s back to writing.