You guys, today has been a really big day for me– I reached 60,000 words on the first draft of my memoir, Love Dogs, which is officially 3/4’s of the way to my 80,000 first draft word count target! 60,000 words– that’s currently the equivalent to a 150 page book! I wrote a few weeks ago about celebrating your victories, and this is definitely one of mine.
THE EASIER WAY TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS
There’s still quite a long way to go before this particular journey is complete, but my friends and family know that getting this far has been an often times painful, three year process that has included many partial drafts, so much self doubt, and lots of growing pains. So it feels incredible to have gotten this far. To know that if I stay on my current trajectory, I will have a complete first draft in time for Thanksgiving.
And the crazy thing is, I’ve written most of this first draft since we left on this two year round the world journey only a little under four months ago. When we left, I’d been stuck at 23,000 words for a few months, and those 23,000 words themselves had taken close to a year to generate. Now I’m writing between 500-1000 words a day, despite constant travel as well as keeping up with my two blog posts a week here, and growing my social media platform on Instagram.
I’ve put a lot of thought into how this has been possible. I’ve written before about how travel has always acted as the accelerator to my biggest dreams, and that clearly holds true here. I think the constant inspiration of always being on the move, and actually having less time to write because of it, has been key. To fully embrace that done is better than perfect, especially when it comes to a first draft, and to really embrace the philosophy of doing what I can when I can.
Oftentimes before I would have more time for focusing on writing this book, and the time and space would create so much pressure and expectation. I felt like I needed to be writing thousands of words a day and it just totally paralyzed me so that I sometimes didn’t even manage a single sentence. Sometimes I still experience intense self doubt, and often worry that I’m going to get to the other side of this draft and hate every word of it. I have to remind myself that these thoughts will not improve my writing, and serve only to hinder my progress.
TORTOISE V. HARE
I think we can often put this kind of pressure on ourselves when approaching big goals– the need for perfection, and huge expectation and pressure for making unrealistic gains. We live in a fast paced modern world, and it can constantly feel like all eyes are judging us with the prevalence of social media, so we feel we have to do it all at once and all right now. We feel like we are failing if we are not racing like the hare, but how much gentler and ultimately more effective if we embrace striving for our goals like the tortoise. One step at a time, just a little bit every day, so that one day we wake up and wonder and delight at how far we’ve come.
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Carina Covella is a writer and currently working on her forthcoming memoir, Love Dogs, detailing her six month transformational journey from Hollywood through India. Carina graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University cum laude with a degree in Art History. She also attended the Sorbonne in Paris and studied opera at the Manhattan School of Music through the university exchange programs. Until recently she lived in Mill Valley, California with her wonderful Welsh boyfriend Anthony in a house nestled in the trees, but now they’re off on a two year adventure around the world. When she’s not writing or traveling, she loves to cook for her friends and family.