Simplifying Objectives

As I’ve mentioned before, one can have a production schedule. One can have the best darned production schedule in the history of production schedules. One can have dreams and aspirations. One can have goals.

But if one gets what was either the Head Cold From Hell or a sinus infection, one is not going to be either creative or productive for a long time, and one’s production schedule will flit away like dust in the wind.  Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.  Now that The Sickness has finally returned to the pit that spawned it and I’m feeling better, I can decide how I want to proceed.

Obviously, I did not meet my original goals for the first two months of the year. I did manage to get a few things done before I was taken out, but not much.  On the other hand, once my teeth stopped aching, lying around on the sofa gave me time to think.

One thing I realized was that my plans were getting way too complicated. I have a tendency to do that “if this is good, more will be better!” thing.  All it usually does is get me off track, leaving me distracted and confused.

That’s especially true in an area like this.  Writing is important to me, but I don’t have a lot of confidence that I know what I’m doing, especially when it comes to the publishing/marketing side of things. So when people who DO seem to know what they’re doing give extremely good advice, I assume that I must follow it. They are right, and I am wrong, and I must do what they say to do because of course that is the right thing to do.

But in the end, the pursuit of writing is a creative endeavor, not something that can be analyzed and quantified. There is no “right” way to do it. There are things you probably should do – like tell a good story and use good grammar – but there is no one path to pursuing success. So even though everyone says that THIS is the way to be successful, in the end it doesn’t matter a whole lot.  Ultimately, there is only you and the blank page and your desire to tell stories.

Besides, as soon as you start to do what everyone tells you to do, that will be wrong, and they’ll be doing something else.

Most of the time the advice given by “experts” is well-meaning and undoubtedly true under certain circumstances.  But not everything is true for everyone’s situation.

Anyway, lying on my sofa, I realized that I, once again, was trying to follow everyone’s advice, and I was trying to follow it all at the same time.  This pulled me in many different directions and distracted me from the only thing that’s important – finishing my next book.

Which brings me back to my production schedule.  I’ve changed it, and it’s very simple now.  I’m going to finish my next book (”Welcome to Hardy Falls Book 2”) in time so it can come out when I want it to come out. Then I’m going to finish the next book so that it can come out too.  The other projects I had on my schedule – writing and non-writing related–will have to be shelved for now.

I’m still going to write down tasks and dates–it helps to see it on paper instead of just keeping it in my head. It’s easy to forget what you really want if you don’t see it in front of you. But I’m not going to live by that paper because, as was demonstrated to me so ably in these last few weeks, life happens. My production schedule is more just broad strokes now, instead of specific dates.

I’m also not going to try to write two blog posts a week like I was because that pulls my focus away from where it needs to be. I’m going to try to do one a week, but only if I can think of something to talk about. Forcing myself to write a blog just because it’s time to write a blog is not my idea of fun–and the blog has to be fun. I will be writing a newsletter once a month because I love learning more about my friends in Hardy Falls, and the stories I write for the newsletter helps me grow the town.

I’ll definitely be doing some basic marketing – like writing good descriptions and getting good covers, but for now, that’s all I’ll be doing in that area.

I am well underway with the second draft of “Welcome to Hardy Falls Book 2” (which really does have a title, but I want to think about it before I share it), and I’m pleased with how things are shaking out so far.  My objective now is to become more efficient with my revision process, but I think I’m figuring out some tricks to help speed things along. I’m angry with myself because I feel like I wasted a lot of time between the first and second draft (again), but I was trying to do too many things that seemed like good ideas (again).

So, here’s my new production schedule– do the first thing. Then do the next.  Keep going and keep it simple.



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