Well, that didn’t work out the way I’d planned. I’d say nothing ever does, but that’s not true. I’ve had some successful challenges over the years. My 2010 Grindathon worked out just about exactly as I’d intended. Analyzing the reasons for failure might be more constructive than celebrating victory, so I’ll take a shot at it.
Yoga. Hot yoga. I love yoga, but the heat isn’t quite my cup of tea. I prefer the flowing style of vinyasa, but over the course of 21 classes, I learned to enjoy the heat. I’ve never minded the sweat. My goal was 30 classes, so I got 70% of the way there. I started strong with 12 consecutive days of class, but then got sick for 10 days and managed only 9 classes over the last 18 days. Yeah, there were holidays and sick days and even days when I took the bus into Manhattan only to get stuck in 50 minutes of traffic and miss class altogether. Some of those are excuses and some of it is legitimate.
Despite failing this particular challenge, I’ll grade this out as a success, since I feel much better than I did in October. 21 classes may be 9 fewer than 30, but it’s still 20 more classes than I took in the previous 3 months combined. So that’s a net positive.
Writing. So the novel didn’t get written. Novels don’t get written. People write them. And I didn’t write one in November. I did do a lot of other writing. Stuff on forums about baseball and poker. Some short stories. Journals.
One thing I realized is that a murder mystery requires a lot of plotting. I can’t just write one from the seat of my pants. So I did a lot of plotting and very little writing. So now I know who kills whom and where and how and why.
I imagine writing the novel in December would be manageable. Instead of setting that as a goal, though, I’m going to simply require 10 minutes of fiction writing from myself every day. If I write for 10 minutes, find inspiration, and keep going for thousands of words, that’s great. But if I struggle for 10 minutes, write 100 mediocre words and then move on with the rest of my day, I’ll still have 3100 words of a story by the month’s end.
Poker. I started the month without a clear idea of what I wanted to do with this. I had money on offshore sites, but with regulated poker so close in New Jersey, I had very little interest in playing on these sites. So I cashed out, then started playing on the new NJ sites on November 21st. I have at least one major complaint about each site, but I’m also encouraged by the traffic and by the progress that the sites are making.
In December, I’m going to set concrete goals for hours played. I’m focusing on quality over quantity. Fewer tables, greater focus. In short, the stuff that worked for me when I was at my best. And I’ll keep studying and writing and improving.