Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Planning for 2013: Procrastination is Still My Middle Name

I published the first version of this blog post for Chiseled in Rock December 28, 2010. I am a master at pouring  my own good intentions down the drain with the dregs of my morning coffee..

I did complete one first suspense novel draft in 2012 and finished revising the other suspense novel I wrote in 2011, so I'm not a total loser. Overall, however, I wrote blog posts, blog-hopped, blog-challenged, e-mailed, wrote Facebook status updates, tweeted, surfed the Internet, gardened, traveled, and played more than I wrote.

Time management seems like a common sense issue. Doesn't it? Yet, here I am, enjoying another innovative way to procrastinate:

Yes, I take my Katie Cat outside on a harness and leash and she walks me around the yard as she searches for grasshoppers, smells the lavender, and tries to dig up the seedlings in my garden.

Truth is, I have no intention of giving up fun, but I hope to get a lot more writing done over the next five years. My plan is pretty simple, and no different from the one I posted here two years ago:

1. Focus on long-term goals.
2. Set reasonable weekly and daily benchmarks.
3. Keep track.
4. Adjust benchmarks as needed.
5. Don't sweat the small stuff.

In addition to my regular calendar, I have the 2013 writing planner from Northern Colorado Writers (designed by Kerrie Flanagan and illustrated by April J. Moore) dedicated to goals and deadlines for writing new stuff, revising old stuff, queries and submissions, and de-stressing (also known as exercise). Keeping word counts worked for me in the past, so I'm adding that technique back to my plan.

If procrastination is also your middle name, and you need to rethink the way you spend your time, read a few of the articles in the archives at Leo Babauta's zenhabits.

There are several helpful posts at Fuel Your Writing, including 7 Writing Distractions I'm Kissing Goodbye by Suzannah Freeman and After the Break: How to Get Writing Again by Robert Smedley.

Want more? Just Google "writerly procrastination" and you'll find enough articles to keep you reading (instead of writing) for weeks. Or you can knuckle down and set your goals.

What long-term goal is at the top of your list for 2013? Mine is the same as it always is...write 500 words a day, not counting blog posts.

Pat Stoltey


Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - Isn't it amazing how non-writing things get in the way of writing, even if we don't intend it that way? I like your plan for getting around it thought. I think the one I like best is not to sweat the small stuff. Focusing on getting the job done - that's what counts.

Donna Volkenannt said...

Hi Pat,
The suggestion to keep a daily word count is a good one. I might give it a try.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I know my habit is to procrastinate which is why I force myself to stay on top of things. I still manage to slip in some fun though!

Anonymous said...

Pat, I wrote a blog post on this very subject. My major goal for the New Year is a time management overhaul. I spend too much time on the Internet writing about writing or reading about writing --either way, it makes me feel like a poseur. Must. Write.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Margot, my life is a lot more pleasant since I stopped fretting about little stuff. :D

Hi Donna -- that word count got me through NaNoWriMo in style in 2011.

Alex, life without fun is a drag.

Julie, I've struggled with time management for years. I learn a lot by reading other folks' blog posts and blogs like Time Management Ninja and zen habits.

Dean K Miller said...

Pat: Stop trying to manage time. It isn't even real. It sounds like you are doing a great job of managing yourself and your happiness.

I say stick with that plan...

Patricia Stoltey said...

But Dean, I just want to be able to make a tiny little schedule and stick to it...

Kerrie said...

I agree Pat, I like to create even a tiny, little schedule and make a point to stick to it. But Dean, you do have a point as well. So maybe if I combine the two ideas by scheduling my "down time" (ie. fishing) then I can accomplish both.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Kerrie, I love the idea of scheduling down time...mostly to read for fun. so many books...