I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that I’m interested in learning the fine art of project management before, but I am. It’s actually a pretty neat idea; clearly defining an attainable goal, determining what needs to happen in order for that goal to be reached, and breaking the big goal into smaller chunks that you can clearly measure success with along the way. It’s the sort of meta-organizational tool that most of us writers don’t really think too much about, but I think in a lot of cases it can do a lot of good.
For example, this month I would like to write two short stories — one is a commission for a friend that’s been a long time coming. (What? Don’t judge me.) The other is for an APA that needs to be finished by the end of the month. I figure two weeks of writing plus two weeks of editing is just what the doctor ordered for both of those.
Here’s the thing, though — I’d also like to keep the Writing Desk humming merrily along with three posts a week; there’s at least two articles for [adjective][species] I would like to finish; I’m running at least one session of Pathfinder this month; and I’ll be going out of town one weekend towards the end of March to visit friends. This is where organization and discipline really comes in handy. I’ll need to focus on these goals to make sure they’re achieved, and I’ll need to stick with the work even when I don’t feel like doing it.
That last part is particularly difficult for me. It’s so easy to come up with ways to procrastinate during my normal writing times, and it’s easy for the critic within me to allow the work that I’ve done to be scrapped; it’s no good anyway, so why should I subject anyone to it? It’s especially difficult with work that I know is going to a talented group of writers (as it is with the APA) or work that I’m being compensated for (as it is with the commission).
I don’t know if I’ve told you guys that I got into this furry thing mostly through totemism, and I think that the animals we have an affinity with have lessons that we try to teach ourselves through various means. With Rabbit, for example, there are a lot of lessons that can be learned about fear and how to work with it. The fear of failure is one of those things that have stopped me from completing anything I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and working with Rabbit gives me the chance to figure out what to do with that. I’m not sure I’m learning these lessons very fast or very well, but I’m learning them eventually.
At any rate, the sheer volume of work I hope to achieve dictates that I’m steady in my writing practice and that I think about possible interruptions and trouble spots for this month. It goes hand-in-hand with my project management skills, so that’s a nice bit of synergy isn’t it?
Here at the desk, I’ll be trying to give updates about how the stories are coming along (and where you might be able to see them when they’re done), talking about stories that have affected me profoundly (you’ll probably have to sit through at least one spaz about True Detective) and putting up little snippets of fiction set in the Sleepwalkers setting. Let’s hope that I can keep my nose to the grindstone this month, right?