We’ve been talking for the last week or so on that pesky scheduling problem and how we writers can manage our lives so we have more time to write.
Of course, the real problem is that I’ve accidentally overscheduled myself. I’m having to finish up old projects I’m not interested in anymore. I took on one that seemed fun but isn’t quite as good as an almost identical project a friend brought me, but now I’m committed.
The things I want to do and the things I’ve agreed to do are not the same thing. Now if I can just figure out how to want to do the things I’ve obligated myself to do, I’ll be doing ok.
Overscheduling happens. The questions I’d be asking myself here are the following:
1) Do those old projects bring in revenue? If so, then they’re Good Things, because we all have to eat and pay the mortgage.
2) Do those old projects help your writing career in any way? If so, then they’re Good Things, whether they’re fun or not.
3) Do those old projects meet your Mission Statement for your writing career? If so, then they’re Good Things. However, if you’re finding them boring, maybe your Mission Statement is too broad.
And if they don’t fit in your Mission Statement, then maybe . . . you should escape them. I don’t know in what sense you’re obligated to do them. There are of course different levels of obligation. One thing I learned in the last year was that I needed to trim my projects down to fit my Mission Statement. In a couple of cases, that meant disappointing friends by backing away from projects that I had wanted to do with them. But the truth is that a project you’re doing that you’re not enjoying may be a project you’re not doing very well.
I’m not encouraging you to back out of firm commitments. But if the commitment is kind of fuzzy, you might do best to find a way to trim it out of your life. And definitely think twice in the future about making commitments that don’t match your Mission Statement. I didn’t have one until this year, and once I wrote it down, I suddenly had a solid reason to say “no” to things that I shouldn’t get involved in. And I continue to say “no” when people come to me with things that sound great but that I shouldn’t be doing because they defocus my efforts.
As many of you know, I learned about Mission Statements (and a whole lot more) from Allison Bottke, who helped me clean up my pesky act and start acting like I was serious about my writing business.
Mary asked today if I could talk about how to write a synopsis for a book proposal. Since I think we’ve about chewed all the sugar out of time management, I think we’ll transition smoothly into synopses tomorrow. If you’ve got questions or comments, post them here and I’ll respond to them.