I finished yesterday with over thirteen thousand words. Because I’ve had problems losing words in the past, I always round down. It also leaves me feeling a little hungry, wanting to get those extra words in as soon as possible, so I can have a delightful surprise at the end of the day when I’m several dozen to a couple hundred words over the limit as a bonus. I don’t feel confident, though.

Something has kind of taken the wind out of my sails and I can’t honestly say I know what. I don’t really feel bad, it isn’t like I think I can’t or shouldn’t write, and it isn’t even that I don’t think I should be writing this story. I’m enjoying it, and I want to keep working on it. And at the same time, I feel like I should be working on something else.

And not in a wistful, “I wish I could be working on something else” way either, it’s an “I’m neglecting my duty” kind of way. I feel deflated, like I’m mismanaging my time. I’m not doing as much as I could be, I’m not doing the things I should be, and worse still, I’m not even aware of what I should be doing, exactly. It’s a general bad feeling.

But it isn’t going to stop me. It’s going to slow me down — it already has, to be honest — but it isn’t going to stop me because I can’t be stopped. I can only be slowed down. I can be made to suffer but I can’t be broken. Only I can break myself, no one and nothing can do it to me. Breaking is a personal admission of uselessness.

I’m not a failure and I’m not useless. I haven’t finished everything that I need done, and I’m not going to in time for it to help me right this moment. I’m going to have to deal with this bad feeling until it passes, and I’m going to have to keep writing at the same time. It’s part of the process. I’m going to have bad feelings, because bad feelings are part of the experience. Overcoming bad stuff makes the good stuff worth it.

How many times do you have to miss with your longsword before you defeat the goblin? Doesn’t failing to strike it make defeating it more exciting? More fulfilling? That chance of failure throws into sharp relief the difference between succeeding on your own terms and … well, the emptiness of failure. Except, I don’t buy that.

Someday, somehow, these negative sentiments not only won’t be necessary, but they won’t exist. I won’t have to deal with them because they won’t be there. They’re a “now” but they aren’t an “always.” Not only do I know that on an intellectual level, I know it from experience. Things get better. It’s practically guaranteed.