Challenging Yourself, Win or Lose

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.

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6 comments

  1. Bill Clark - Reply

    Ah, the beauty of following my own advice! Having saved my comment from the Mavens’ blog, as per my suggestion to Maven Lacey, all I need do to enter it here is to click “paste”.

    *Bill clicks*

    Hi, Lace!

    The trick (learned the hard way) is to copy your comment before attempting to do anything with it. That way when stuff happens, you just paste it in from the clipboard. 🙂

    Hmm…goals…generally a year of progress, by hook or by crook. Cranked out another calendar (#5), puttered away at various WIPs, sold some books, cashed some royalty checks, and generally kept body and soul together. As long as I can look back and find myself in a better position than a year ago, I count it a year of progress.

    (No years of regress yet, praise be!)

    Erica, you were a lucky girl to pick Saturday as your travel date. Otherwise you’d probably be snowbound somewhere considerably less comfy than your under-bedded family home. Do you have a guardian angel?

    my super-secret new project

    Hey! What’s this?! C’mon, give us some hints! Pretty please? 🙂

  2. Vicki - Reply

    Secret project??? Ooohh, that’s going to be hard to wait for.

    I commented over on the Mavens and I’m pretty happy with how the second half of the year shaped up.

    So Bill – are you writing under your name here? I tried to find your books and calendar(s) and couldn’t. 🙁

  3. Bill Clark - Reply

    Hi, Vicki!

    Since Erica’s not using her comment thread at the moment, I will hijack it to talk to you.

    Yes, I only ever write under my own name. I haven’t self-googled lately, but a year or so ago I got links to my book on Bermuda (which went through 3 editions) and one of my books on Greenwich (6 editions so far).

    What I really need, of course, is a web site, preferably designed by Miss Erica, in order better to organize and display my literary canon. Just the other day I walked into the local indie bookstore with a copy of my leather-bound coffee table book, which they had requested as a special order for an out-of-town customer, and a bloke from Oz took one look at it and started peeling off stacks of Jacksons. (It’s long since out of print, but there are still some copies in the hallway closet.) 😉

    But the magnum opus, aka the GAN, aka the Great American Novel, is still a WIP. You can say you knew me when. 🙂

    OK, Erica, I’m done for now. You can have your blog thread back! 🙂

    /s/ Bill the Blogjacker

  4. Vicki - Reply

    How cool is that! I’m going to google and see what I can find.

    Yes, I could say I knew you when but I’ll more than likely say, Hey, I know him! 😀

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Erica Ridley
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