I Am My Own Greatest Enemy

I knew when I got published that I’d be busy. I knew I’d have contracts and edits and deadlines – but I wasn’t worried. I actually work better under a deadline. I was sort of looking forward to all the hustle and bustle. procrastinator kitty

However, I didn’t take into account my own proclivity for procrastination.

See, I tend to look at my schedule and think, “Ooo, I have 2 months to write this book. Piece of cake. I’ll get started on it later.”

But here is what I forget. Writing that one book isn’t the only thing I’m going to have to do in that two month time frame. I will have edits coming in on other books, promo to do for all my books (and I cannot stress enough how much TIME this stuff takes), blog posts to write, crits for friends to do, proposals for future projects to do…not to mention the million and one family and home issues that need Mommy’s attention.

And I’m one of the extremely lucky ones that is able to do this full time.

I love that I get to write. I feel so incredibly lucky that I get paid to do what I love. But I will say that once those contracts are signed, a lot of the wiggle room goes out the door. It doesn’t really matter if I’m too tired or don’t feel like writing on any particular day. If there is a deadline looming, I HAVE to get it done. Like it or not. It’s become a job. It’s a job I love and I wouldn’t change anything for the world.

procrastinators-unite-funny-picture-38608But I don’t really get to do the “eh, I just don’t feel like it” anymore – not without consequences anyway 😉 (Those consequences usually involve extreme stress and lack of sleep due to full-on cram sessions as I try to get things done – cram sessions that wouldn’t be necessary if I’d learn to not procrastinate …I’m working on it) 😀

Now, it’s not ALWAYS my fault. Sometimes I do really well sticking to my schedule and things come along that prevent me from working. Life happens. You gotta learn to roll with it. I’m learning to not over-commit, to say no every now and then, to limit some of the “non-writing” extras I used to do. It helps. But I do have to admit that I am sort of easily distracted 😀

I do okay most days. But my life would be a lot less stressful if I’d just get out of my own way and get to work 😉

This recent FB conversation between my hubs and I pretty much sums up my usual work routine:

Hubs: Want to go to the store with me or do you just want me to pick up what we need?

Me: You better go. I need to get some wordage done.

Hubs: Yeah that’s what you always say. You’re such a procrastinator.

Me: Whatever. I’m doing fine this time. I’m almost done. I only need 2000 words a day andpanic later I’ll still be done with plenty of time to edit before I have to turn it in. I can do that easy.

Hubs: Uh huh – that’s what you say now. And next week it’ll be “I only have to do 2500 words a day” and the week after that it will be “I only have to do 3000 a day” and the week after THAT it’ll be “Crap! I have to do 5000 a day!!!”

Me: O_o *blushes ’cause I know he’s right* 😛

I’m starting a new book next week. I have two and a half months to get it done. I only need to do about 1500 words a day and I will be done early with several weeks to edit before it is due. Totally doable, piece of cake.

THIS time I will not procrastinate ;-D

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23 thoughts on “I Am My Own Greatest Enemy

  1. Oh, gosh, thanks for the writing. I signed a contract, but the work hasn’t started yet. But I think my publisher is more flexible on deadlines; however, he would like to release late summer, but that is contingent on the amount of work it needs. So…I suppose I do have a deadline. It’s just flexible in that if I have to do another edit, it can be pushed back. *headdesk* I might have to eventually cut down on my part-time job hours then.

  2. Don’t listen to her. Michelle’s idea of procrastinating is waiting five minutes to dive into a project. Or doing seven things at a time instead of eight. She is a force of nature. That’s why we call each other Hammy…because we are always running on those hamster wheels at top speed. What Hammy needs is a clone!

  3. Well, if writing’s your job, you have to treat it like a job. And if you want to make writing your job, you also have to treat it like a job. Not always easy to do when you have other commitments, but it can be done.

    As an indie, I don’t have to worry so much about contracts, but I do have some personal goals and deadlines to meet (I just remembered one, actually) and I have to work with my contractors on a timely schedule. It keeps me out of trouble…mostly. 😉

    • very true. I try very hard to work during “work” hours (9-3 when I have to get my kids from school) and when possible I take weekends off. At least from the major work 🙂

  4. I so admire you. I would have a bit of a heart attack if somebody said: Two months. One book. In fact, I’d probably crawl into a hole and never return. HATS OFF!! And … WHAT ARE YOU DOING RESPONDING TO THESE COMMENTS. GET TO WORK!

    • LOL Well I was giving myself a small break before diving into book 3 on Monday. But then edits came today (due end of next week if possible) so….no more break lol I did have a very lovely week of relaxing though (i.e. catching up on laundry and housework 😉 And reading!! I got to read a couple books which was heaven) 😀

  5. lol case in point….I had planned on starting book 3 on Monday. My editor is on FIRE and just sent me edits for book 2 (due Friday if possible). So…yeah…book 3 gets to wait another week 🙂

  6. You are a crazy woman thriving in stress. Congratulations! (I can’t really picture you taking a mental break though…even if one was offered) 🙂

  7. I recently set myself some goals, and realized that I had four books due (in at least first draft form) by December. FOUR BOOKS! Oy. I bet you could handle it, though 🙂

    • lol I’ve done two so far this year and will have three by July. And a few proposals for a new series hopefully done as well.

      But I’ve become very streamlined in my writing process. I used to just sit and write – now I start with a fairly detailed outline so I know exactly where I’m going. Details change, of course, but it really helps to work out any potential problems before I even start.

      It also REALLY helps that when necessary I can sit down at 8 am when my kids leave and work until 3 pm when I have to go pick them up. And then work again once they go to sleep at 8 pm if necessary. And while I wait for them at soccer and gymnastics practices 🙂 I have the luxury of doing this full time. I’d never be able to pull it off if I didn’t 🙂

      Write or Die and doing writing sprints with friends also keeps me going. We set a timer for 30 mins and can usually get 1000 words (or close to) done in that time. A few sprints like that and I have my word count for the day 🙂

  8. Michelle, I completely understand the procrastination effect… and I also try to pretend it’s just that “I work better under deadline.” If that means, I work better pulling my hair out, not sleeping for five days, and walking around muttering about that scene I just can’t get right….yeah, I work better that way. Ha.

    A book in 2 months? You’re giving me heart palpitations.

    • LOL sounds familiar 😀 And keep in mind, this is a first draft in two months – it is in no way publishable at the end of that time 😀 The outline helps keep that first draft a bit less scary than they used to be, but my editor and I do a lot of cleaning up before they are ready to go out in the world 😀

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