Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Being Organized is Half the Battle

I did not spend today as planned.  This often happens even when I do have a vague plan and a list of things to do. In fact, I have lists everywhere, some dating back a couple of months (neglected while rewriting my novels for Amazon contest) and that’s part of the problem.  Well today is part of the solution.  Unable to sleep I got up at 4:55am and although I planned to do some editing, I saw those lists and decided enough is enough!  I needed to get on top of things, so I grabbed all of them, and all the other notes buried under other stuff, and other notes that probably have grandchildren by now, and I started to go through them and began creating a new list for today, for the rest of February, for February and March (the last two months of the first quarter – January is long gone!), and for the rest of the year.   

I wrote down my goals, my Big Rock projects that need to be scheduled first thing in the morning or they’ll never get done, and then broke those and others down into different categories, like those related to writing—books, articles, work for hire projects, networking/publicity—then those under personal & family.

I thought this might take me a good hour, but I kept finding other lists, and other notes, and thought, while I was at it . . . . Then I kept finding stuff that got me excited about the possibilities and I ended up making more notes about these and trying to find a place on the schedule to fit them in, this quarter or next quarter (yes, I’ve already started on April-June, and even added some reminders for July-September).  It ended up taking me all morning, but I felt so relieved.  All this clutter was on the verge of burying me!  Finally I felt caught up, back in control of my writing life!

Of course being organized is half the battle.  The other half is actually completing those tasks and crossing them off my lists, or advancing them in the right direction.  Otherwise it’s so easy to lose sight of the direction you're heading.  It’s so easy to get caught up on the sideshows of writing and missing the main events.  For me, that means completing projects that will end up as a book or at least put food on the table (and pay for our house might help, too…)

As the old saying goes, If You Fail to Plan, You’re Planning to Fail.  Corny, but oh so true!  If you’re in the business of writing, and writing is a business, why shoot yourself in the foot, assuming you can find it amid all those notes and lists cluttering your office.  If you don’t plan ahead several weeks, several months, several years in advance, those weeks, months and years will go by pretty quickly, and at some point you’ve look back at all those wasted years and scratch your head and ask where did it all go?   

What happened to that novel you were planning to, someday, write?  By the way, or so I’ve heard, the highway to hell is paved with good intentions.  We all have them; we have regrets, too.  Personally I want to minimize those regrets, and get a lot of stuff done and see a lot of books get written, but that won’t happen if I’m totally disorganized.  Then again, if you spend all your time organizing nothing will get done.  You got to find that right balance between chaos and efficiency.  Because it’s that other half of the battle that really matters, taking action of your writing life and charging forward to victory!  
                   --Borneo Expat Writer 

***Here the link to my website, to MPH online for orders for all three of my books, including my latest, Spirit of Malaysia and for Trois autres Malaisie.

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