An Optimist By Any Other Name (Just Might Be An Idiot)

My younger son thinks an “optimist” is this:
Optimus Prime

It would be cool, but sadly, I am neither a robot, nor a vehicle.

Anyone who knows me, or has visited my blog very often knows that I search for the positives in a bucket full of negatives.  I stare at the clouds until I see a sliver of sunshine.  I don’t abandon hope even when all reasons to hold onto it have vanished.  You can see for yourself here, here, here, here or here.

For all of this, some may shake their heads and call me an idiot.  I think I am an optimist.  Even though I recognize the challenges in this world, I see hope rather than despair.  Good thing I can’t be objective because I might find that I’m a little of both…and an idiotic optimist is not what I aspire to be.

Here’s an example of how my optimism works.

During the first week of October, I scribbled out a short story on scrap paper.  I carried those pages around for four weeks before I typed them into the computer.  (That story is under 1,300 words.)  It’s been nearly two weeks since I typed it but still haven’t had time to read and edit.  I *might* be able to sneak some time in over Thanksgiving weekend, but with family obligations, I don’t know.  Best case, this story will be polished by the end of November.

This works out to 1,300 words every two months.  Let me show off my math skills (double-checked with a calculator, of course) – that’s 650 words per month; less than 22 words per day.  If I continued to write at this snail’s pace, it would take me almost nine years to write a 70,000 word novel.  Eeeps!

Seeing the unexpected

The good news is that this calculator-crunched number was better than I thought it would be.  Working it out in my head, I figured my novel would be done by the time my grandchildren were grown.  (Given the fact my older son is only nine, I’d better not have grandchildren for a loooong time!)

So, not only am I relieved by the nine-year estimate to complete a novel, somewhere in my heart, I believe I can finish it sooner.  I’m not discouraged that during the same nine-year period, Nora Roberts will have churned out something like 63 novels (okay, I am a little bit.)  Maybe it’s more jealousy than discouragement!

The optimist in me refuses to give up.  She keeps reminding me:  it’s not a race.  It’s not when I finish that matters, it’s that I begin and end, and breathe every moment in between.

(All the while denying the possibility that I could be delusional, an idiot, or anything other than a pure optimist.)

Do you look on the bright side, or are you drawn to the reality of adversity?  What is it that you are most optimistic about?


22 thoughts on “An Optimist By Any Other Name (Just Might Be An Idiot)

  1. Richard W Scott November 17, 2011 / 3:22 PM

    Optimism is a good bet. If you’re wrong, you’re wrong, but if you’re right, you haven’t wasted any time beating yourself up about negative possibilities (and even if you have a little bit, optimism is STILL a good bet.)

    By and large it is easier on the system, and it keeps your mood clear.

    I look at my personal calendar, and a part of me wants to hurry up and get published, how much time could I have left to write? But then my built-in optimist says, plenty. Enough. Enough time to take to get it done right.

    Not bad, I say. Not bad.

    • jannatwrites November 17, 2011 / 9:50 PM

      Good way to look at it, Richard. We don’t have anything to lose by being optimistic. I can relate to the rush to publishing, but I also agree with your thinking, to slow down and write well…you do have enough time for that!

  2. nrhatch November 17, 2011 / 3:44 PM

    Putting a positive spin on things (by looking for the silver lining in that bucket full of negatives) is no more delusional than “Debbie Downers” who put a negative spin on everything that crosses their path.

    But optimists are happier, more enthusiastic, more energetic AND . . . they AGE SLOWER because they don’t suffer from self-induced delusion stress.

    Assumming that it takes you 9 calendar years to write a novel . . . that translates into only 4.5 Tigger years! You’ll still look like a babe at your press conferences!!!


    • jannatwrites November 17, 2011 / 9:57 PM

      Your comment made me smile, Nancy. Aging slower is definitely welcome. (Maybe it is working – I picked up our dog from the groomer today and the lady asked if I was the dog’s sister. I gave her confused look and she asked if I was picking the dog up for my dad. I explained he was my husband (he’s only 5 years older than me) and she acted surprised. She had to have been angling for a bigger tip, but it was still fun to tell hubby the story…even if he didn’t laugh as hard as I did.)

      I’m looking forward to having that novel done in 4.5 Tigger years 🙂

  3. suzicate November 17, 2011 / 4:30 PM

    And what a gift that novel will be to you grandchildren! See, I’m an optimist, too!

    • jannatwrites November 17, 2011 / 9:58 PM

      I can just feel the optimism all around me, SuziCate. Thanks!

  4. pattisj November 17, 2011 / 5:53 PM

    I am most optimistic you will get your book written, and it doesn’t matter when, just that it gets done. I would also like to note that Ms. Roberts children are GROWN. I’m not sure she has a job aside from writing, unlike SOME people (you). You have greater priorities right now. Just keep penning those 22 words a day.

    • jannatwrites November 17, 2011 / 10:00 PM

      I’m pretty sure Nora Roberts doesn’t have a day job, Patti! Mary Higgins Clark wrote novels when her children were young…I read that in a bio of hers. I didn’t see anything about her being crazy enough to be a scout leader, though…so I may have something on her!

  5. Debbie November 17, 2011 / 6:07 PM

    Ah, Janna, you know I’m an optimist! I always see a glass as being half-full. And I’m optimistic you WILL finish that novel (and more!), but on your schedule. And really, Patti is onto something when she points out that Nora has grown children while you have “greater priorities right now.” You’re not being delusional; you’re just busy. Besides, someone who writes as well as you do is bound to WRITE!!

    • jannatwrites November 17, 2011 / 10:06 PM

      Thanks for your nice words, Debbie. I’m having fun with the blog and shorter writing right now, so I’m not worked up over a novel ‘deadline’. I would like it to be considerably less than 9 years, though!

  6. Carl D'Agostino November 17, 2011 / 7:39 PM

    I did not vote for the president but was comfortable with his winning because I believed him. He’s sold out to the megabanks and megacorps and it is the same. Kinda hard to be hopeful when leadership’s only goal is to perpetuate itself and shaking up the status quo for meaningful improvement is not in their best interests. It is a reality that we may have the right to vote but we are disenfranchised from influencing change in any way by mere voting. Our country will continue to sustain 800 military outside US around the world to make our presence felt. We ought to be fighting with the words of Thomas Jefferson instead. They are stronger than intimidating weapons.The wealth continues to be focused in the hands of an economic oligarchy that expands its influence while its membership class shrinks as well. With no prospect of real unemployment being reduced and we get MacWages and no benefits I don’t see how the common man can be re-empowered. So I am pessimistic. I hate to be wrong. But this is one matter at which I’d like to be completely wrong.

    • jannatwrites November 17, 2011 / 10:12 PM

      My goodness, Carl…you rained on the optimism parade tonight! But, you know what? I love rain!

      I, too, have concerns about the state of our country and the future for us (and our children). I will continue to vote, because even if no one listens, I feel better knowing I’ve spoken 🙂

  7. Widdershins November 18, 2011 / 12:12 AM

    Optimism doesn’t mean you don’t how hard the work is, or how long it’s going to take. It just means you value the Journey!

    • jannatwrites November 20, 2011 / 5:46 PM

      I like that, Widdershins – I’ll go with it 🙂

  8. Tori Nelson November 18, 2011 / 8:12 AM

    You’re not an idiot if you are happy! What would negativity do for us anyway?

    • jannatwrites November 20, 2011 / 5:48 PM

      I don’t know, Tori – I’ve seen a lot of happy idiots 🙂 It definitly is better than being negative, anyway!

    • jannatwrites November 20, 2011 / 5:52 PM

      I didn’t know that, Connor. (Transformers are not my thing.) It sounds like my younger son might be right, though, but I’ll just keep this our secret. Wouldn’t want him to think he knows it all already 😉

  9. mairzeebp November 21, 2011 / 11:24 PM

    I always try to look at life in a way where amazing things could be waiting around every corner. I mean, it’s so easy to say that life sneaks up and takes you out at the knees why not believe that it could sneak up and plunk down a bucket of fortune in your lap. Some days, it’s harder than others to think that way and I have my moments where I want to shake my fists at the sky and walk around muttering angrily but, for the most part I believe in joy. Hope. Wonder. Great things happen all of the time if that is, you believe they do.

    • jannatwrites November 22, 2011 / 9:28 AM

      I like the way you think, Mairzeebp. I love how you put it: …”why not believe that it could sneak up and plunk down a bucket of fortune in your lap.” That sums up the main argument FOR optimism beautifully.

  10. Epizeuxis November 23, 2011 / 2:27 PM

    That’s great attitude I must…and this is one things I really need to learn…
    I tend to be more pessimistic than optimistic…So I’ll remember this post of your’s next time I think negative.

    • jannatwrites November 27, 2011 / 9:38 PM

      I hope you are able to let the positive thoughts flow, Epizeuxis. There’s a lot of stuff in this world that feeds pessimism. I have dark days here and there, but I much prefer the “up” side…maybe you might, too 🙂

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