About two weeks ago, I updated A Study In Magic: The Application. A year and six months had passed since I last updated the story, and I was nervous. Will the old readers remember the story? Will they ignore the update notification? Is the new chapter good and readable?
I updated in an ungodly hour in the morning. Fool that I am, I stayed up all night putting the final touches to the new chapter. That was bad enough, but I was also shaking off a cold that struck me down flat three days prior. God alone knows how I got to the office without causing an accident. Needless to say, I showed to work looking and feeling like death warmed up and microwaved in a plastic bowl.
Of course, a workday that starts on such a note cannot help but go lower. With impeccable timing, one of the main applications decided to fail in an overly-dramatic fashion. Considering the upper management hysteria and finger-pointing that followed, I would’ve been far better off calling in sick.
Once I took care of the emergency (took me five minutes, and no lives or customers were harmed during the downtime), I spent the rest of the day constantly checking the A Study In Magic: The Application’s latest view stats and reviews. I clung to the rising hit stats when the reviews weren’t coming, and rejoiced when the reviews did come. I saw familiar usernames on reviews and grinned like an idiot. Then the workday ended. I longed to take a nap at home, but I had to be a Responsible Adult.
All in all, a bad day in general and a terrible workday in particular. No writing got done that day, either. Still, I celebrated that day as a success because I finished.
A Simple Metric of Success
My writing end goal simple: finish writing the story.
I remind myself this whenever I check any my posted stories’ stats and reviews. I love my readers, and their approval makes my heart sing like a love-sick idiot. But I avoid using approval as a measure of worth. To decide whether a work is worth continuing based on something as uncontrollable as other people’s opinion is a sure way to madness and depression. Every bout of depression I had, and I had many, happened when I measured worth based on human approval, be it others or mine.
I again remind myself goal after a long and satisfying day of story planning and outlining. Like the one I had today. The perfect story idea in my head is never quite like the story that actually gets written out. Even this blog post didn’t turn out the way I planned (alas!). I never know what turns out, but each time I start typing away, I renew the commitment: I write to finish.
Now toughen up and finish writing, BOC.