Crawling towards the finish line

(fuelled by vegan crisps and soya milk)

I have an essay due on Monday morning and it’s 99% done. Yesterday it was 98% done. The day before, about 94%. The day before that, more like 31%.

This is a pattern I’ve noticed over the last few essays, that as my workload dwindles, so does my motivation to do it. Today, all I had to do was a conclusion, critics and edit, and managed to tick off one of those things, knowing that I could spend all day Sunday plodding through the other two.

And I’m certainly motivated by large workloads; my gaming magazine The Game Shelf (which I’m so amazingly proud of and the people behind it) is going through a slight rough patch as one of our writers has lost literally all the free time in the world, and so can’t contribute for a few weeks. I’m taking over their slots, meaning my written workload – on that site at least – has doubled; but in spite of being exhausted, perilously busy and still a bit sick, I don’t want to do anything other than work on those pieces.

Even for this essay, I charged into its planning stage, reading eight or so books in two days to adequately prepare my mind for the task ahead; the annoying inevitability is that while my understanding is sound, I’ll get a shit mark because I’m devoting less time to the end of this process, the actual polishing of the essay.

Back in the day, I used to run at school. Not at a very high level, but well enough that I could point to ‘running’ as my particular athletic speciality; but my style was always to run hard at the start of races, power ahead of my rivals then try to cling on until the finish line. And I’m doing that with my writing; like a child, I go through brief periods of great eagerness for projects, especially at their inception, but my motivation flags as these projects near completion. This is why I’ve been able to stick to open-ended, intentionally indefinite projects like this blog and The Game Shelf, while I’ve struggled completing more time-based activities, like NaNoWriMo.

 I guess I don’t like completing things; I like throwing myself into things that I’ll always be able to throw myself into, plugging away at projects for the satisfaction of doing, as opposed for the satisfaction of having done. This might end up hamstringing any attempts to write finished novels in my future, but for the time being I’m crawling towards the finish line, with an eye always on the endless horizon.


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