At some point, I bought into the fiction that I was lazy. A slacker. There are many sources for this (parents, teachers, boyfriends, society, a pervasive protestant work ethic that tells me my main value as a human being lies in my education/job/productive output), but it all really culminates in the soul-destroying phrase I heard so often as a kid:’you’re so bright, if you’d only apply yourself’ — when what they really meant was ‘do the things we want you to do rather than the things that interest you, because there’s little/no value in them, and you certainly can’t monetize them’ — a perspective doomed to smother out any hint of brightness in another human being, if ever there was one.
This self-perception that I’m lazy remains one of the most enduring fictions I still believe about myself. I certainly spent most of November feeling this — that I wasn’t doing enough, that I was slacking off, letting myself down, wasting time, etc.
Because of NaNoWriMo, I tracked my activities for the month at a very granular level (which I don’t normally do except in a very informal way), and I collated them at the end of the month. I realized something: I’m a fricken rock-star of productivity.
Here’s what I did:
Worked my normal job 40 hours/week
Wrote 33k words on Chiaroscuro
37 hours spent writing by hand
Roughly 37 hours spent transcribing/editing (didn’t track this, but it’s about a 1:1 ratio for writing/transcribing)
Did extensive developmental edits for a friend’s novel (about 20 hours)
Went to dance classes (about 8 hours)
Dealt with birthday and holiday blues
Hosted a family member for a week
Only two of these activities were directly monetized (and one of those, the developmental edit, came largely because I edited the first novel on a volunteer basis — just a friend helping out a friend). This has made only a tiny chip in my ‘I am a lazy slacker’ fiction, but even that is nice. For December, I’m planning to do a match for November, plus a bump-up of editing two short stories to get them out and doing the rounds, and of course writing my fanfic gift and various treats for Yuletide. Maybe I’ll turn that chip into a crack.<
I can do it! For I am not a slacker!