Monday, December 7, 2009

Making Up For Lost Time

Deadlines are a tricky thing. You set them, you remind yourself of them, and hopefully you meet them. But life is complicated and tries to derail you. You have to prioritize and reprioritize and pick and choose your battles with the calendar.

Time management can sometimes feel kind of like balancing a ball on your nose while juggling knives and dancing on a balance beam.

On occasion, you drop a knife. (Hopefully said knife does not land on your foot or end up clipping an innocent spectator . . .) Falling a little behind in your time management is okay; mistakes happen and life gets in the way. You buckle down, devote a day or a week or whatever you need to really focusing, and get back on track.

Sometimes, though, you drop all the knives, the ball bounces right off your nose mid-step and lands under your foot, and the next thing you know you're down on the mat, staring up at the ceiling.

You're so far behind that you can't catch up with a little extra diligence. It's just not physically possible. Crap! What do you do now?

My answer: you catch up with a lot of extra diligence.

I'm in this position now. I have this glorious three-book-a-year plan with writing timelines and revising timelines and querying timelines and everything designed to overlap beautifully. A key component of that plan, however, is that I get the first 50,000 words of my winter project written during NaNoWriMo.

The problem: I did not win NaNoWriMo this year, and I'm not even keeping the 36,000 words I did write. I'm scrapping it and moving on to a whole different project. So now I'm 50,000 words behind schedule. That's not something I can make up in a day or two.

I suppose I could shift my deadline. It is my deadline, after all. One of the benefits of being an unpublished, unagented, aspiring novelist is that the only person I report to is me. But because all of the timelines are wrapped around each other, moving one deadline means moving them all. And I don't want to derail my whole year just because I spent November working on an idea that turned out to be a dud. Dud ideas are bound to happen and I need to work around them.

So instead of a few days or weeks of extra focus, I'm going to try to spend the next few months making up for that lost time. I spent the morning going through my goal tracking spreadsheet, tweaking the next three months. I cut out a few of my days off. I raised the bar on my daily goals by 1000 more words on writing days and 5 more pages on revising days. If all goes according to plan, I'll be back on track by the end of March.

It'll be harder. It'll take more dedication and effort. But I'm creating time here. That ain't easy.

1 comment:

Kalayna Price said...

Good luck! (to both of us) I'm currently pretending all my knives are plastic butter knives and ignoring the pretty shiny blades--I better get with it before I stab myself in the foot. ^_^