Sunday, December 7, 2008

High Priority!

Why is it that we let Ordinary Life interfere so much with the Important Stuff?

As the end of the year approaches, I realize that I haven't finished that book I started... in 2007. At least now I know who my characters are, what their motivations are, the theme, supporting cast, etc. Before I was fishing around for a lot of stuff, which makes things extremely difficult to write. It's a bumpy ride reading the 150 pages that have been written as things switch from motivation to motivation and characters change their minds about who they are.

But I don't want to get back to that book until I get the books I've finished polished. It's not like they haven't been polished before, but now they need that polish-polish. That perfect polish.

I've been reading Applesauce and Moonbeams and can now announce that except for a few final word-tweaks it's perfect. Absolutely perfect!

Except for those first three chapters. They read like I had something stuck up, well, some place anatomical, when I was writing them. So they must be re-written.

After that I can go back and do those tweaks that Amazon Magic needs, the comments from my crit group.

None of this should have taken all that long, but things kept Coming Up. I prioritized them ahead of my writing. (Or my art! I have a painting that's been almost-finished for two months now sitting in the studio waiting for me to finish it. Today. Yes, today. But those bulbs need planting in the back yard!! The living room is a wreck. That pile of things need to go on eBay before Xmas. I'm out of groceries!)

Once I attended a workshop where, as we were settling down, the speaker had us list the ten things we HAD to do each day. The workshop was to show us how we could fit writing into our schedules. We dutifully wrote the "must do's" down and then the workshop began.

Halfway through she had us drag out those lists. "Where is writing on your list?" she asked us. Only one or two people in the hall had included it.

So we have to have our priorities actually ON our list of priorities in order to tackle them. Well, that makes sense. And they should be in the top two or three things.

Anthony Robbins says that one should make a goals list and then break those goals down into steps. Martha Beck's The Four Day Win says that those steps should be HALF of what we think we can easily accomplish. We must work on those steps each and every day, no excuses.

And that means putting the priority for those goals at #1 or #2. (Family comes first, remember.)

Not that long ago... well, maybe last year... I took Margie Lawson's online course, "Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors: Allow Writing Productivity and Creativity to Soar." I figured this would give me tips around my procrastination (which of course is fear of screwing up perfection). Unfortunately the course is so densely written that it takes severe hunkering down to sort through.

Sorta like my first three chapters in Applesauce and Moonbeams.

I've bought a timer. I'll set it for 15 minutes today, maybe another 15 minutes later on. Bit by bit I WILL get through that rewrite. And the other one.

My goal is to Finish the Damn Book (as the phrase is in RWA) starting with the New Year.

How about you? Procrastination getting you down? How do you deal with keeping your personal goals a priority in a rush-rush world?

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