My current project- writing the history of Caddo- is driving me crazy. I’m almost finished with the “printable version”, but less than thrilled with it. If I only had another year to spend on it I know it would be amazing!
Okay, back the train up. That last sentence is what I kept thinking yesterday as I worked on the last chapter. Granted, I’ve had some setbacks- most of one chapter is lost in cyberspace somewhere and I had to retype it. But for the most part I’ve just expected more than I can deliver. I do that a lot.
It’s not that I can’t write the history of Caddo. It’s not that I don’t have enough material. Quite the opposite. I have more than enough information and stories for several books, and I’ll probably end up writing all of them. My problem with this one is knowing when to quit, knowing what to leave out. This book is mostly for genealogists and contains a lot of newspaper articles filled with names and events and the basics of Caddo’s history. The next one will be more about individual families and their contributions to Caddo’s history. After that I plan to do one about lawmen and outlaws. My great-great grandfather was one of Caddo’s constables.
I had planned to have the book completed by Heritage Day. That didn’t work out. Now I’m trying for Thanksgiving, but if I have any more weeks like last week I will probably have to settle for Christmas. Of course no one is holding a contract over my head. No one is pestering me to hurry and finish. I just had my own expectations for the project and I feel like I’ve somehow failed.
That’s what overachievers like me do. We set ourselves up with higher expectations than we should, and then we shoot ourselves down when we don’t meet them. I have three projects I’m working on that no one else even knows about, or cares about, and yet I feel this tremendous pressure to do them quickly and well. That just comes from my own personal emotional baggage. The effects of being the oldest child? The only girl? A woman? I don’t know. Perhaps it is a combination of all three. Women tend to feel daily pressure to be the best they can be.
I don’t know why I push myself to do these things, but at least I know when I finish this book I will have a joyful sense of achievement and relief.
Then I can go on to the next unrealistic expectation.