1,000 Big Year: The final reckoning

1,000 Big Year

My last drafting words for the year. I abandoned my 1,000 Big Year back in November. Let me now sum up what I achieved over the year, and you’ll see why I call this Big Year a failure.

The year slumped and then died because it was too ornate, insufficiently focused. As can example, its essence, its foundation, was to draft 1,000 words every day (“each and every day” as I’m wont to repeat ad nauseum). Well, you know what? I didn’t even keep track of word count, other than for a few isolated periods. Word count can be tough to enumerate, because of editing, but clearly I didn’t put the basic machinery in place.

I can tell you I worked 1,900 hours over maybe 40 active weeks, or 48 hours a week. I wasn’t slacking. But the driver for the Big Year, to get the damned book finished, was word count. And I failed.

I did try to track if I honored another commitment, to resist the devilish allures of Facebook and email before lunchtime. Probably I did that for 75% of the time. I woke up early half my days. I did some kind of daily planning and monitoring maybe half the time. Complexities, complications… none of which ensured I meet my main aim of 1,000 words on the page.

Again, as with the Freshness Big Year, I shouldn’t castigate myself too much. I made huge strides with the book. I put in place better habits. This “failed” Big Year took me a step further towards my goals. But hey, I needed to define and execute better.

1,000 Big Year: Oh, how I grieve

1,000 Big Year

This is meant to be a selfie of me hunched over, lamenting the trashing of a Big Year. The photograph didn’t work out as planned but I’ll let it stand as it does convey a little of how wounded I feel. How weird, I hear you say, how weird to worry about odd annual targets that no one else knows anything about. It’s not weird to me at all, I respond.

My 1,000 Big Year collapses

1,000 Big Year

This Big Year has been and is a flop, and now I need to face reality. Realising this, ten months into the year, shames me and fills me with regret, but I can’t go on with pretending all is okay.

Mostly on this blog I compliment myself: aren’t I clever and courageous in attending to a daily activity that enriches life? Well, not so clever. The 1,000 Big Year, my most important focus for 2018, was a flawed creation. Maybe I can learn from this misstep.

This year has been fantastic from so many angles but my most important goal, to write my nuclear history book, has made spirited leaps but hasn’t accelerated as I deeply desire it to do. The 1,000 Big Year idea was to focus, focus, focus. Make each day a model one: rise before dawn (motto: set that alarm); work only on the book (my motto: no Facebook), plan and monitor every day; and, most importantly, write 1,000 words (4 pages).

Oh, ignominy. Let me scourge myself on all four counts.

Early start: I’ve encouraged good habits by setting an alarm 95% of the time but have only risen smartly two days in every three. Not good enough, Andres!

No Facebook: this is not bad, I’ve been a good boy four days out of five.

Monitoring: I’ve tried to persuade myself that yes, I’m planning and reviewing daily 75% of the time, but the real truth is that very little of the feedback cycle has been meaningful. Why? Read on.

1,000 words: a debacle! I haven’t even kept track. Fairly often I’ve “written lots” but mostly my output has been arduous and halting. THIS DID NOT WORK!

I am therefore now abandoning this Big Year. Tomorrow: lessons for designing future Big Years? The next day: what the friggin’ hell do I aim for over November and December (I can’t exist in a vacuum)?