Friday, November 14, 2008

Overachieving Frugality

NaNo update: I hit my target goal but didn't make myself go beyond. I still don't know what the end will be. Now I'm past 30,000 words, which means I need to figure that out.

I think part of my frenzy in writing this comes down to the fact that I'm a classic overachiever. The goal is to write a book in a month? Ha! I'll write one in three weeks. I need to write 2,000 words a day? Then I'll write 4,000. Plus, I am impatient. My agent has mentioned that there seems to be some demand for this kind of book (not that she knows what I'm working on), and that got me excited to have something to give her. Meanwhile, she was really high on the concept for The New Project, and that has me thinking that maybe once I'm done with the NaNo project, I should just finish it so that by the time it sells (fingers crossed), I'll have a complete manuscript, which means it may get released faster. I'm eager to finish the one book so I can get to the other story.

And I think I've figured out why hitting my goal seems to take no time, while going beyond it takes all day. I've been forcing myself to write earlier in the day (though that didn't happen today because I had a slow start this morning), so I'm finished with my writing goal about an hour to an hour and a half before I usually try to start writing. I hit my goal, I do my "I rocked, I rolled" chant that I stole from the gargoyles in book 3, and then I feel free to goof off a while or do other stuff. But then when my usual writing time rolls around, I feel like I should be working, so I set out to work, and then my usual bad procrastination habits kick in, which means it might take me an hour or longer to get around to actually writing. As a result, it ends up feeling like it took me all day.

But I told my overachiever self to chill yesterday and went out to help stimulate the economy. I've felt like I'm kind of to blame for some of the stuff that's been happening, as I haven't been spending money. It's not so much because of national economy fears as it is personal economy. I'm always frugal, and though I made decent money this year, I'm between contracts so I don't know how long the money I made this year will have to stretch. If it comes down to a choice of buying something now or being able to hold off trying to find a real job later, well, it's pretty obvious to me. But my main issue is that I don't really need anything. I'm overwhelmed with stuff. I have shelves loaded with books I haven't read yet and am reluctant to bring more home (the lovely thing about the library is that they store the books for me). I don't listen to music very often, so I barely listen to the CDs I own. I have DVDs still wrapped in plastic. I have a closet bulging with clothes, when I spend about 98 percent of my time wearing jeans, shorts or sweats. Even most of my social life involves jeans. I don't need more clothes. I don't wear jewelry all that often, and most of that is a few sentimental pieces. I couldn't even come up with a Christmas wish list to give my parents. So, most of what I've been buying is stuff that gets used up -- food, toothpaste, soap, office supplies.

In the interest of saving jobs and all that, when I hit Target yesterday, in addition to the toothpaste and soap, I bought the season one DVDs of Pushing Daisies (plus, good DVD sales may help save the show). Then I hit B&N and bought a couple of books. And then I bought groceries. Then I didn't make myself work when I got home.

I will confess that I think the overachieving thing has hit the frugality, too. With the news full of all those stories about stretching your dollar further, I feel like I have to be even better at saving money than everyone else is, and since my baseline is pretty frugal, saving even more pretty much will involve growing my own food and making my own clothes.

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