I have the (pleasure? horror?) of being snowed in 1,000+ miles away from home, as I flew north this weekend to visit family for the holidays. Internet is sketchy because there’s no wifi (what kind of Neanderthal house is this?!) but I’m scrambling like crazy to finish Touched.
Two things about that: Realism vs Procrastination.
As you may know, I’m a long-standing advocate of setting specific, quantifiable, realistic, attainable goals and holding yourself accountable to them.
I did not make my (internally-motivated) goal of finishing Touched by Thanksgiving. In fact, I’m in danger of seeing Christmas before my agent sees the manuscript.
Why? I think it was my old nemesis “realistic”. Finishing by Thanksgiving (an arbitrary deadline, to be sure) may have been theoretically possible, but possible != realistic.
And so… and so, once the deadline came and went–and, granted, Life reared its hectic head in the form of germs and cross-country plane trips and omnipresent client work and so on–once making the deadline was an impossibility because the date had already passed, so too went a big chunk of my drive.
I mean, partly I was rewriting because I love to write and I love this story, and partly I was rewriting because if I want my agent to lay eyes on it, then (duh) I have to send it to her, but also partly I was revising because I’m self-competitive by nature. Ain’t never seen a goal I didn’t want to meet or beat. I work for what I want, and in general I tend to succeed. But when I woke up Thanksgiving morning with the new goal of making it out of bed without coughing my lungs onto the floor, well… it was all too easy for justifiable delay to slip into that insidious beast Procrastination.
Now, as mentioned, I’m scrambling to finish, despite being snowed in a house with more family members than beds and a single non-wifi Internet connection. Because it’s almost time for that end-of-year standby, New Years Resolutions, and I am determined to begin my super-secret new project on January 1. I will start it then.