Anyone who knows me, even a little, knows that I am the Queen of Procrastination. No seriously, I am. I will fight you for that title!
Because I’ve met my UK editor several times face-to-face (and occasionally ‘over drinks’ when I become a little more… honest), I have found this fact harder to hide from her than, say, an editor who I don’t see regularly. Editor J has already established that I need a hard deadline in order to get anything done. Woe betide anyone who says something vague like, “Oh, just get it to me sometime during the next couple of months.” This is a surefire way to guarantee you will get it right at the very end of those two months. But still within deadline, of course!
I am quickly learning to trick my brain into thinking things are due sooner than they actually are. For example, The Stone Demon is technically not due until mid-January. However, Editor B has made it known that Flux will “love me forever” if I can get it turned in before Christmas. I have therefore put a mid-December deadline down on my calendar, and am trying very hard to forget I really have another month if I need it. Um… oh, wait…
I was talking to a Twitter pal the other day about making a living as a writer, and I said that – very broadly speaking – you either need that One Big Deal or you have to write lots of different things. Clearly, in my career so far I’m taking Option 2! But I am not unhappy about this. I get bored very easily (I’m a Gemini, this explains a lot about me), so it’s nice to have plenty of variety in the projects I work on.
Would I turn down the One Big Deal? Of course not! But I would probably keep working on different things, across different genres and media, wherever possible. I think that’s the way I work best. Or at least, it keeps me happy to try new things and work on both short and long projects.
And yet… I am still struggling with time management and productivity, despite the multiple deadlines banging at my door. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not struggling to the extent that I’m in danger of missing deadlines. I don’t think my pride will ever allow that, even if it means no sleep and existing on a caffeine drip.
My recent post, wherein I tried to change up my routine and split my day into two halves (one half spent on new writing/first draft stuff and the other focusing on revisions/edits), has already bitten the dust. Not, I hasten to add, because I totally and utterly failed at it. The routine was actually going okay, although I was definitely not starting as early as 9am. Heh. I tended more toward an afternoon session of work and then a late evening session. Still, I can’t say that the Quantum Writing experiment was a total success. I did find myself feeling quite scattered, trying to do more than one ‘writing thing’ in the same day – despite the long break between work sessions. We’ve all probably heard of the concept of Flow, and I am beginning to think I might need more of that than I used to believe.
But I’ve had to put that experiment on hold because of a genuinely Sekrit Project that I couldn’t possibly turn down! (I cannot speak of the Sekrit Project yet, because for once it’s actually someone else saying I must keep it secret. I will spill the beans as soon as I can – as long as I don’t screw up said Sekrit Project so badly that I am removed from it, forthwith.) I am no longer doing CampNaNo (sorry, fellow campers!), because I have to put first draft writing on TSD aside for a couple of weeks.
So, I’m trying something new with productivity and work process. Again. I am going to try to focus on one thing at a time, and see if that helps me to actually finish things more quickly.
I’ve found some of these resources helpful:
Time Management for Creative People
(This last one is a free e-book by Mark McGuinness and I highly recommend it. I also like his blog, Wishful Thinking, which is about how creativity and business fit together.)