I Tend to Try to Avoid P.P.’s. Or: How I Deal With Failure

31 Oct

I did not manage to blog 90 posts in 90 days.

Oh buddy. There it was. In writing.

Writing is… hard. Anyone who tells you differently has obviously never tried to write before. Not only is writing hard, but it’s hard to bust out engaging, entertaining, hilarious, or moving pieces every day. This isn’t an excuse, and I’ve probably sat down and tried to start writing this post for the past 2 days now, fearing that it would turn into just that- one big winy wishy-washy sob story of an excuse as to why I didn’t write anything in the past week, when I said I would write something every day.

Oh buddy, there it was again. In writing.

During my attempted 90 in 90, I wanted to write things that actually mattered. I wanted to write good, solid pieces that were either so funny they made people cry, or so moving and thought provoking that people re-posted them immediately with messages like, “CAROLYN IS THE MOST MOVING AND THOUGHT PROVOKING WRITER ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET!!!! READ HER BLOG IMMEDIATELY!!!!”  I didn’t want to be like, “Today I got up and answered some emails and applied for a few jobs but then realized that I still don’t have a job, and no one called me to offer me a job, so then I took a shower and watched Pretty Little Liars. And then my sister came home, and that made me happy because that meant I got to speak to another human being.” I wanted to avoid pointless posts. (I have affectionately named them “P.P.’s” in my brain ) P.P.’s aren’t fun. No one wants to look at a P.P.  Well… at least no one that I want to be friends with.

And so, a day goes by. You don’t write anything. You’re all depressed and feeling like a failure, but at the same time you want to avoid the P.P.’s. So you don’t write. At first, you feel pretty weird. You’ve been doing it for a whole month… NOT writing anything makes you feel guilty. And then- after about day three… you start to feel a tiny twitch of rebellion. You start to feel like you’re really onto something. “A HAH!” you proclaim to yourself, “I DON’T NEED TO WRITE EVERYDAY! I CAN REFUSE TO DO THIS!!!” And for a few fleeting hours, or maybe even a whole day, you’re feeling free. You feel good. You realize it’s not the end of the world, and sometimes, you just need to live your LIFE in order to be able to write about it! Right? Right!?!?!

Then, around day 5, you start to get pretty depressed because no one has asked about your blog. No one. Not one single person has contacted you being like,”Hey, what gives? I look forward to reading your posts and you haven’t been posting?” So then you kind of spiral down into this “Why-do-I-even-blog-at-all-no-one-cares-or-reads-this-stupid-thing-why-is-this-so-important-to-me-but-not-to-others” hole. So then, around day six, you decide that you don’t CARE if it’s not important to anyone else, it’s important to YOU, and you’re going to KEEP writing, even though you failed at writing 90 blog posts in 90 days!!!! OKAY!?!?!

(Aaannnnddd there it is again. In writing.)

So you sit down and attempt to write something. But after all of this NOT writing, how are you supposed to even START writing again? What can you say without making excuses for yourself? Do you just… ignore the fact that you failed your 90 in 90? Do you just… not write anything at the top of your post, and act like the attempted 90 in 90 never happened? Or do you spend an entire blog post trying to justify to yourself (and I really mean YOURSELF here, because obviously, as these past six days have proven, you have 0.00 readers…) why you didn’t complete the challenge? In a moment of frustration and mental road blocks, you close your computer, furious with yourself for ever stopping the 90 in 90 in the first place. How are you supposed to DO THIS ANYMORRREEE!?!?!?!?

And then- like clockwork- three people contact you within a 4 hour period. And somehow, they all manage to say the exact things you need to hear in order to start crying. Oh yeah. Just start blubbering like a the baby parrot fish that falls off of the sponge beds in the beginning of Finding Nemo-

Human # 1: Hey Carolyn, I don’t want to sound like a stalker or anything, but… what happened to your blog? I looked forward to reading those posts every day. I wanna make sure you’re okay!
Human #2: Hey, what gives? I demand more blog posts. Ya dig?!?!
(Cue: Carolyn’s blubbering breakdown.)
And so, we’re back. And after this journey, I’ve discovered some good ways to deal with failure. They go a little like this:

1. Denial. Just deny that you’ve failed for a few days. Deep in the depths of your mind and heart you will know that you have failed, and you will know that you are consciously denying that failure, but that’s okay. Just keep denying that you’ve disappointed yourself and others anyway. During this time, you’re able to accomplish other things… Like showering every two days.
2. Eat mac n cheese. Always.
3. Limit the amount of daylight you expose yourself to. I suggest keeping the blinds closed at all times. If you can’t see the light of day, then it’s almost like the day isn’t there… and you can almost forget that you’re wasting it. Not completely… but almost.
4. Plan your award acceptance speech. You don’t even know what award you’re accepting, but you know that with your brains and talent and drive, you’re bound to win something, someday, probably, maybe. And when you do, you’ll be ready: “I’d like to thank my family, for always believing in me, except for that time when I didn’t have a job and I was unemployed and still relying on you guys for financial stability. Secondly, I’d like to thank the fabulous organization that is giving me this generic award. Thank you, yes, it means a lot to me to know that you think I deserve an award. And last but certainly not least, I’d like to thank Wendy’s. Thank you for your crispy spicy chicken sandwich. That steaming, delicious work of art with no tomatoes, add cheese and mayonnaise. You have never let me down. I love you.”
5. Make a list of the things you like about yourself, and then say them to yourself when things don’t go your way. For example: Someone cuts you off on the highway? “HEY! BUDDY! I HAVE RELATIVELY GOOD LIVING HABITS AND I CLEAN UP AFTER MYSELF, PROVIDING THAT I HAVE TIME TO DO SO!” Your car decides to have something terribly wrong with it that will cost hundreds of dollars to fix? “You know what? That’s just fine. I’ll be paying my parents back until I’m 57, but hey! You know what? I have nice hair. I like that it can be curly… OR straight!” Your ex starts dating someone else and you feel that horrible pit in your stomach like you need to throw up? Just lean over the toilet, hold your hair back high and your head down low and proudly proclaim, “I WORKED OUT FOR FIFTEEN MINUTES FIVE DAYS AGO!”

These are only  a few of the tactics that I recommend using for dealing with failure. Please feel free to add some of your own below. I am always looking for ways to help me cope with my own personal shortcomings.



5 Responses to “I Tend to Try to Avoid P.P.’s. Or: How I Deal With Failure”

  1. jmjames2012 October 31, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    This post is perfect timing. Seriously. I found out I failed at getting a Marshall Scholarship today (something I had been pouring myself into and striving towards for months). I’m disappointed, but surprisingly calm about it. After reading your steps, I’ve realized I’m probably in the denial stage. I definitely did miss your daily posts, but I’m glad this topic was the result. Misery loves company.

    • Carolyn October 31, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

      I’m sorry you didn’t get your scholarship Jenna. :/ Like I said, mac n cheese ALWAYS. I like the denial stage. I would recommend staying in that one for a while. It’s easier than opening your blinds and doing the whole emotional break down thing. That just comes with time anyway, so put it off for as long as you possibly can.

      I also find that reruns of Hey Arnold on Netflix work really well, too. 🙂

  2. mmohara October 31, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

    Yea, I was the one worried that I’d be that stalkerish sort of old guy, and who needs that, am I right? I will tell you this, however, I’ve promised myself MILLIONS of times that I would journal (remember those, before we had blogs) every day for a whole month, without fail. Every day. A whole month.

    Yeah, never did it.

    But YOU DID!!

    ::sounds of fireworks::

    ::sounds of 76 trombones::

    ::sounds of krrrzzzzzzzzzziiit::


    So, I never managed a perfect month, and you did. But I did write a lot, a crap ton, in fact. You just learn how to forgive yourself and life for not being perfect, and you just jump right back on the horse or journal or keyboard or whatever.

    So, Laura and I put some turkey sausage in a big ol’ mac e cheese on Monday. You’re absolutely right: always.

    Go get ’em, girl!

  3. A Fan October 31, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    I’m glad you’re back and while I would love to read a good post every single day I’d rather read a great one when you have the inspiration, time, and heart to allow us to take part. Either way, I’m going to devour whatever you post every time you do it.

    -Signed “a fan”

  4. Genevieve Conlin November 7, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

    Today I thought :: I haven’t gotten any e-mail updates on Carolyn’s blog in a while… hmm…I miss reading those every day. I’m probably just not checking me inbox correctly because I’m SUPER busy, and maybe she’s SUPER busy too – I’m gonna get online anyway and catch up on all of those posts I bet I’ve missed::

    After reading the ‘I have 0.00 readers’ comment, I thought :: Oh, Crap…I’m such a terrible follower! I should have said something to her about it! I’m here. I’m a reader! Don’t give up!’

    After reading the entire thing, I thought :: Girl, give yourself a break… you are a fabulous writer and doing something every single day is exhausting and way too routine to actually enjoy life and the simple spontaneous moments that make great writers great….so we aren’t going to fault you for not writing every single day!! And yes…as mentioned above…I do love reading them! Even the P.P.’s on my own days of pointlessness…

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