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The thing all writers do best is find ways to avoid writing.”  ― Alan Dean Foster

I was going to do an expansion on my goals, explain why they are important to me and put in the start of the plans on how I will achieve them. It was going to be a very responsible, motivated, enlightened adult type post. I was going to do it after writing over 3000 words on my novel and I was going to be awesome and gung-ho.

Then I discovered Pottermore. I swear I didn’t actually spend the entire day on there, and it doesn’t explain where the last couple of days went. I’m not sure where my time went, but it wasn’t on my enlightened thoughts on the concept of becoming the person I want to be in the span of five years. It wasn’t even on Nanowrimo, that grand adventure of the month where I had made the goal of writing 75,000 rather than 50,000 words because I have so much free time. Really, Ally? Finding chocolate frog cards is more important that having your characters save the world? More important than figuring out how you’re going to get to New Zealand for that adventure you want so desperately?

Apparently so. 

This isn’t a new concept to anyone. If you say you don’t procrastinate, I accuse you of procrastinating on being real with yourself. Or something. That was a lot cleverer in my head. We all do it, and we all wonder why, and we all promise to stop doing it. Sometimes we do. I do, sometimes, too, but I always seem to fall off the bandwagon of doing things right away.

I think the reason I end up falling off this wagon is that I am really bad at parsing my time. For someone with a bijillion interests, I am just no good at doing things for shorter periods of time and therefore accomplishing small amounts of each thing during the day. As an example: If I decide to start sewing something, I will sew for about ten hours solid. I will know that I really ought to stop, write for a bit or go swimming, maybe eat something or go to bed. But I’m on a roll and I keep going. Then I fall asleep at the sewing machine with pins in my hair. This maybe an exaggeration – I don’t fall asleep at the sewing machine, but there are certainly pins all over my room the next morning when I wake up and think that maybe I should take a break from sewing for a little bit, maybe go on the computer for a little break.

And a day later, I’m still on the computer, looking at the backlog of images on a facebook page that my friend likes. Yeah. In essence, I do something until I can’t do it anymore and then I ‘take a break’. Then I think I should be accomplishing something so I start writing or something and I get a whopping 15k written and a month later that sewing project still hasn’t got the hems turned in.

Wouldn’t it be more effective for me to do a little bit of everything a day? Not everything, maybe, but the important things? How do I train myself to do that? How do I turn off the characters in my head after a session of writing so that I can get some cello practice done? How do I pry myself away from an art project when there’s ‘just one more thing’? This isn’t what they taught me in school: that four square graph with urgency and importance. They’re all important, and if they’re urgent it’s too late. It takes months to write a novel, to learn a concerto, to create a pile of Christmas presents our of balls of yarn. And these aren’t things that have a definite stop point for the day – I will always have more to do when it comes to writing, cello, crafts, cleaning, online interactive experiences for a book series…

I can try. I can make a schedule, and stick to it for maybe a week before I convince myself that I really just need to finish writing this one last scene or basting this hem…

How about, I plan tomorrow. Just tomorrow, and see how it goes. Make a list, and stick to it.

  1. Do dishes
  2. clean rats cage,
  3. cat boxes need to be done too,
  4. and I need to get my laundry done because I’m running out of pants
  5. and there’s all that junk that’s collecting in the living room
  6. and my office is a mess so I should get that done
  7. and…Yeah… That’s how it goes. That’s how I spend the whole day doing a single thing until I can’t take it anymore.

New plan: I try and balance tomorrow as best I can, then write down what I did and reflect. Use this as a jumping off point for better time management skills.

Ally

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