As I passed the 6-month mark of the challenge – two challenges, actually; one is a chapter book a month, and the other, a short story a month – three things became clear to me.
1. Irrespective of what you frankly or secretly thought of your own capacities as a writer/artist/professional/human being, You Can Do Anything. That voice that says you can’t – it is lying now, but if you start believing it, it won’t be lying anymore. You just need to find your goal, fix a deadline and work towards it. Even one goal would do.
2. When you start working towards a goal, the universe itself will resist your efforts. You will find innumerable distractions, delays and doubts cropping up and poisoning your mind. You will recognise uncountable numbers of reasons why you can’t / won’t / shouldn’t be doing what you were trying to do. This is a test. The only way to pass it is to Just forge ahead.
3. Once you are midway through a project, exhaustion creeps in. On good days, the rest of the year looks doable. On difficult days, it looks insurmountable and, frankly, pointless. Do not face this alone. A pep talk is most important at this time. Talk to a friend or a fellow creator. Stop pretending you are fine, and get help. It will save you. It saved me.
So here is my advice to anybody in the middle of a personal project – be it losing those extra kilos or trying to write a book – do not lose hope. Do not stop, or sigh, or look backwards. A job half-finished can make or break you, so be extra careful. True, you are half-way across the well (to quote a Tamil saying) but this is the most dangerous point – you give up now, you go straight to the bottom, you cannot even try to aim for the walls… you won’t be close enough!