At the intersection of terror and joy
Saturday, August 9, 2008
While it took me longer to get back into the swing of things since returning from San Francisco, I now find myself stressing over the stack of projects on my plate, including the lovely manuscript that needs a little more work.
Ugh. And there I was, thinking I could move on to my next fabulous novel idea. Well, I can, but I really should give the current WIP a massage before I let it fly out the door. So I'm giving myself until the end of August to make it the best it can be. Perfection is not the goal; all I want is a novel that connects with readers, agents, editors...and Oprah.
Of course, the many projects that patiently waited for my return are now tapping against the window, wanting to be let in -- especially with all the rain we've been getting. But how can I possibly choose what to tackle first?
Here are a few things I've discovered that help me tackle an overwhelming to-do list.
1. Do something that's not too easy and not too hard
I used to be one of those people who did an easy task first so that it would give me a rush of accomplishment, but what I discovered is that I always ended up doing all the easy tasks right away, leaving me tired with icky stuff to do. And that just sucks when you're left choosing between Heinous Project 1 and Heinous Project 2.
2. Then do a really challenging task
Use the momentum from the medium-level accomplishment to encourage you to do the one thing on the list that you really don't want to do. And, if you sincerely don't ever plan on doing it, delegate it or find a way to get it off your list forever. Claim to be in a coma or enrolled in the witness protection plan if that helps.
3. Get offline
Ack! This is the one thing that can hold me up no matter how much I'm enjoying what I'm doing. As a contest lover, there's nothing more distracting than doing "a few entries" to take a break. And, after staring at a computer screen for extended periods of time, the best way to take a break is to get up, move around and focus on something that doesn't require staring at a monitor. So yes, TV's out too.
4. Realize perfection isn't possible
Sure, we all want whatever we're doing to be gosh-darn perfect and prize-worthy, but there's only so much time in the day. Also, one thing I've learned as a freelancer, when you're working at a set rate for a project, whether you spend 10 or 100 hours on it, you still get paid the same amount. Do you want an hourly rate of $2.85? Didn't think so.
5. Write now, celebrate later
I don't know about you, but once I'm in that zone I'll do everything in my power to stay there, even if it means missing out on sleep or the latest trashy reality TV show. Celebrating the checking off of a task can wait until the chocolate fountain has warmed up.
Okay, I think I've procrastinated enough today. ;) Time to get back to work...wish me luck!
posted by Bonnie Staring at 1:16 PM