August 26, 2011

facing the ticking clock

I constantly stress out about time. I hate feeling pressure close to an unmeant deadline, and I don't like being late.

But you know what? Sometimes, it happens. Whether it's showing up five minutes late for a major corporate event you're covering, because you can't find parking (oops), or not reaching another target word count (again, another Camp NaNoWriMo fail), it happens.

What matters is how you handle it. Sure, at the time it might be disappointing, or nerve-wracking, but you have to put it into context.

Like these two scenarios I provided. Both were situations I didn't like and wished I would have avoided, but neither one of them has been a deal breaker. I still managed to take a bunch of mediocre photos (I know my abilities) and copied down the most important notes I'd need to write stories. And as for being so far behind my Camp NaNoWriMo goal, that's OK, too. I still manage to write about half of a book in less than a month.

Neither of these are complete successes, but neither are they failures. I'm still getting the job done (both at work and on my books), and I've learned lessons (like calling the concierge to find out the parking before I've been driving around 10 minutes).

I attended an online workshop with author Sarena Straus earlier this week. She offered great advice on how to manage time in the face of difficulty. Here are a few of the key points I took away:
•  Set reasonable and obtainable goals. For example, I might say, "I will write 5,000 words this week." Instead of it being a daily goal, which I am bound to miss one day or another, I'm spreading out the time, making it more manageable for me to tackle.
•  Be flexible with yourself. If I only write 4,000 words one week, that's OK. I'll write 6,000 words the next.
•  Be consistent. The more time you are away from your book, the harder it will be to start again.
•  Put time in your schedule and dedicate yourself to it. Jobs, families and friends are important, but so is your craft. Give it fair consideration.

So, as we go into the weekend, challenge yourself to make some time for writing. Even if it's working on a blog, or reworking a scene you've already written, any bit helps.

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