“Will he finish what he begins?” asks Yoda in the classic The Empire Strikes Back. A new project always has the siren call of the new, shiny, sometimes the unexpected. But do you finish?
Sometimes it is the small stuff that counts. Work, time management, planning, and yes finishing. Starting new projects is fun, we all know that. Something catches your eye, or you get an idea that won’t be denied. You start the new project. But how far do you go? I do a lot of classifying of projects in my life. Everything from settling my grandmother’s estate to cleaning out a junk drawer in my 15 spare minutes on a random day. It’s part of my own personalization of Getting Things Done by David Allen. Each project is broken down into manageable and identifiable next steps. I know how much time I have and what I want to accomplish. Then I work the project to completion. Bigger projects, more steps but I work to complete one step or stage before moving on to the next. That way I can say it’s done.
I have recently tried applying this to my writing life as well. Whether it is planning, characterization, plotting, writing or editing, I pick a “chunk” and get to work. When I get to the end, I work on the next part. Prior to doing this I left a lot of projects undone. Are you a list maker? Do you cross things off your list? Well, I was the complete opposite and added things to the list. The list got longer and longer and I never felt like I was making any progress. I changed what I was doing and started working in projects and making sure it was complete before moving on to the next. Now, this doesn’t mean I don’t have any number of projects going on at one time. I’m not that serialized. But I have one short story, one blog, one novel, one edit, one chore, one errand, one whatever going at a time. If I don’t feel like writing on the short story or edits during my writing time, then I work on the novel. I also keep track of how much I am accomplishing to see if I need to change anything, but that is another post.
Do you finish what you begin? Is there something you could go and finish now? Write on.
What is it that you are passionate about? I mean the things that get your blood boiling and you just have to do something, even if it is wrong? Do you know what it is?
I thought I knew. I’ve come up against some things recently that have made me more introspective about what I am thinking and feeling. It wasn’t any one thing or occurrence that happened. It was more an accumulation of things. Is this good or bad? I don’t know yet. At this point, it just is.
When it comes to my writing, it is affecting my current story line. What I thought I knew about my characters has evolved. I am not sure I like it yet, but I am continuing on with it. I do know that it will affect what I’ve already written so there is editing that will have to happen. Shocking, I know. Gasp, it’s NOT perfect! Writing books, blogs, teachers, workshops say you must have passion for what you write. I think I’ve lost a part of that.
I write a lot about motivation because I am unpublished (at least outside of academia.) What can I offer about writing tips and tricks? Just the things I’ve done, learned and experienced myself. I am no writing expert. I just do it. Motivation is big for me. It gets me excited and makes me want to do things. I also hope that it works for others. The beauty of it is that we are all different and something that doesn’t motivate one person will completely get someone else moving. That is passion. I believe I have moved from the passion stage and into the work phase.
Have you found your passion? Write on.
I don’t know about you, but I need a catch up day after the holidays. I expend so much energy and time getting everything ready and through the holiday that when it is over, I crash. I do almost nothing. After Thanksgiving we hiked Friday and drove home on Saturday. Sunday was a birthday party. I had enough trouble just getting ready for and through that I did absolutely nothing else. And no, I didn’t spend any time shopping! My time is worth more than that. Now it’s Monday and I’m trying to get back into the rhythm of things.
Thoughts for the day:
More holidays coming, time to decorate, bake and make sure I have everything ready for friends and family.
Where did the year go? I just got used to writing 2013 and now I am going to have to change it next month?!
Oh yea, what about my goals? Get back to writing. Whatever is going on in your life make sure that you make time for your work. Write on.
Happy Veteran’s Day 2013. Take a moment and thank a veteran or an active service member today for your freedom. It doesn’t come for free. When we remember to be thankful for the things we have they become that much more important in our lives. There are people in the world who don’t have enough to eat, shelter or medicine. There are people who cannot speak their thoughts. There are people who don’t have access to education and knowledge; things that I believe are taken for granted in the US. Remember that early in the establishment of this nation our forefathers thought that these and other beliefs were important enough to fight and die for. Which is why we have days like today. The majority of people who live in poverty in the US would be considered wealthy in many places in this world.
Take a few minutes today and forget the upcoming holiday lists and general every day consumerism and think about what you already have. Thank someone who believed in those things enough to stand between you and those who would take that away from you.
It sounds silly when you write it out like that. Of course I’m not a superhero. I can’t do everything. We get so caught up in our daily lives that are filled with Have-To’s versus Want-To’s. And a lot of the time we feel like we have to do it all. I’ve come to the conclusion that I cannot do it all.
Are you a list maker? Do you ever make it to the end of your list? You’re a rarity if you do. Most people have more things to do in one day than can get done. When I make lists and I finally end up crossing something off I generally have something else to add to it. It’s a never ending cycle.
So what can be done to mitigate that? Priorities. I set up my day so that I get the Most Important things done first. If I do that and get those crossed off my list all the rest is bonus because I feel like I’ve done something worthwhile that day. You know what happens on the days that I don’t do that? I feel completely rotten. (And sometimes I take it out on those unlucky individuals around me.) Do I have anyone to blame but myself? Nope. Does this work every day? Nope. But it works out better most days and sometimes that is all we can ask for.
Life is organic. It comes and it goes. Sometimes we are so busy we cannot see the end of the road. Sometimes we float. All I can do to control my day is make sure the important stuff gets done first. And you know what? The important stuff can change from day to day. This is why we call it life. Today my Important Stuff is complete. What have you done today? Write on.
I love this magnet. I hang it wherever it makes the most sense that day. We spend so much of our lives worrying about failure. Well, I say forget that. Going back to what the National Park Service attributes to Thomas Edison at National Historical Park, New Jersey, “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.” Astound yourself. Believe in yourself. If that one doesn’t work for you, here’s another: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Get to work. Write on.
I figure it’s kind of pointless to blog about NaNoWriMo. If you’re participating you’re probably not reading this. If you are reading this and participating . . . GET BACK TO WRITING! It’s only day 4 out of 30. You can do anything for 30 days. GO! GO! GO!