I don’t know about you, but I’m a ridiculous overachiever. I put way more things on my list than I can possibly do, and then stress myself out needlessly because I can’t get it all done. Well, duh, of course I can’t get it all done! Not with a full-time job and three monsters running around sucking out my brain cells.
Yesterday, we wrote up The Dream List of every possibly thing I’d like to get done by 4/30. (Don’t look back, it’ll give you nightmares.) Today, I’m going to do something hard, really hard. It’s going to hurt. I’m going to whine about it. But it’s a necessity. As with any project, we have to be able to define a successful timeline and deadline. For that deadline to be met, one assumption that we always specify in the scope is that the required RESOURCES will be made available.
As much as I hate to admit it, I do have to sleep occasionally. I also have to keep the monsters in clothes (you should see our laundry room), cook dinners, and keep my EDJ extremely happy, plus an endless list of household chores. As much as I’d love to lock myself up in a writing cave until I finished everything on my list, I just can’t do it.
So bring out the scalpels. Brace for the pain. And cut that list down.
Take a long, hard look at that endless list of wishful to-dos. I’m going to concentrate on December only and ask myself: what MUST I finish by 12/31 in order to be successful? What can I reasonably, safely, and sanely accomplish and still sleep and function like a normal working human being?
These are going to be my A list priorities, or my MUST DO items. Now don’t throw away the rest of your list in disgust — we still may be able to accomplish a few extra things too. Pick a few more things that you just really wish you could do — if time allows. This is our ROCK STAR list. If the top priority things are getting crossed off the list, who knows? We might be able to fit a few more things into our schedule.
So after taking a careful look at my list, I chose the following things to concentrate on in December. If you can, assign a deadline to each top priority item so you know immediately if you start to fall behind.
DEC MUST DO (deadlines penciled in)
- Finish the first draft of Victor by 12/7.
- Polish first 3 chapters of Return to Shanhasson by 12/11.
- Revise The Horse Master by 12/15.
- Revise Return to Shanhasson by 12/31.
DEC ROCK STAR
- First draft of Victor’s synopsis and query. Oh, yeah, and a TITLE that’s better than the hero’s name would be good.
- horror short story (antho deadline is 1/15/2010)
- First Revision Hell pass for Victor.
And now, to keep myself in touch with projects on the horizon, I’m going to make a list of things to keep in mind. They don’t have deadlines, exactly, but I can’t forget all about these items or I won’t be successful in January, etc.
- verbally committed to submitting Victor in January.
- horror story antho call 1/15/2010
- SFR series: read partial, organize notes, prepare to return to drafting in January
- steampumk antho call 4/30/2010: continue mulling over plot, characters, and world.