Slaughtering the Goat

If you’re a squeamish, goat- loving vegan this blog may not be for you.

A few weeks ago, I got an email from a writer friend. The email, which was sent to a group of us, mentioned the phenomenal productivity of another writer who produces – wait for it – 100,000 words a month.

Yes, a month, and he has the books to prove it.

To which one of the group replied that the only way that would happen for her is if she slaughtered a goat and made a pact with the devil. So from now on I’ve decided to refer to my daily output or writing my words as ‘slaughtering the goat.’

Why is it that we’re never happy with our own pace of slaughtering the goat? Why do we beat ourselves up for being too slow (usually) or too fast (rarely; in fact I’ve never heard anyone complain about writing too fast)? When I stop and think about it, we all slaughter the goat differently and at our own pace. But the goat does get slaughtered. We get there in the end.

I beat myself up for a day or two after reading that email. Why don’t I write faster, why can’t I be more prolific? It didn’t take long for me to stop being so ridiculous. Traveling from one place to another takes time. Seeds grow when they’re ready to grow. Creating anything – needlepoint, art, a sculpted body – takes time too. I don’t expect instant results most of the time.

So why should I when it comes to slaughtering that damned goat?

I shouldn’t, except my writing friends are slaughtering their own goats and I’m peering over my fence watching how they’re doing it and I’m comparing their method to my method and worrying that I’m doing it wrong and being too messy and probably inefficient too. Mostly I worry, like a lot of writers do, that I’m not slaughtering the goat fast enough.

Because you know what they say: if you slaughter the goat slowly, it suffers. And nobody wants to make a goat suffer. That’s bad karma and God knows we don’t need more bad karma.

So what to do? The only thing you can do, I guess. Approach the goat with love. Treat it kindly. Carry out the slaughter the best way you can. And don’t compare how you do it to anybody else. In the end, it’s not about anybody else. It’s a deal between you and the goat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *