I’m not going to bury the lead. This week was, by my definition, a wash when it comes to my writing goals. Writing this post kind of sucks, since I have to tell you that many of those big, beautiful, clear goals I so ambitiously typed out last week remain unaccomplished.
Check it out for yourself:
- Finish going through my chronology binder and making related notes – NO
- Write one hour per day on my work-in-progress – NO
- Finish reading The Memoir Project – NO
- Figure out my memoir’s algorithm – NO
- Complete the list of media contacts for Beyond Words for book mailings, as well as draft a personalized letter to accompany books – PARTIALLY
- Post the first Doable Interview Series video for sharing this week – NO
- Reach out to more women about interviewing them for this series – NO
See what I mean?
So what I’m not going to do is write a bunch of excuses about how crappy I felt last Wednesday (migraine) or the cooking and cleaning I had to do (Thanksgiving), etc, etc. etc.
What I will do is share with you what I did manage to accomplish, as well as try to turn this goal-getting debacle into a lessons-learned kind of thing, both for you and for me.
Let’s start by looking at my writing project log for the week:
WORK HAPPENED, BUT NOT WHAT I THOUGHT (OR PLANNED)
If you read through my log, you’ll notice that I actually did do quite a lot last week, albeit most of it surrounding my forthcoming book Doable and hardly any having to do with my WIP. If you read last week’s post, you know I made a big deal out of the fact that my WIP had formally stepped into the spotlight, Footloose style. (Oh, Kevin Bacon would be so disappointed with me…).
I have lots of thoughts about what exactly went wrong (if it did actually “go wrong”) this past week and what I think are the key takeaways. Here they are:
- Re-entry can be difficult. As I’ve written about before, getting back into life after a vacation or retreat can be challenging. (The more life-changing the getaway, the harder it is.) I know from experience the importance of being extra gentle and patient with myself when I’m in re-entry mode, but for some reason I decided that last week would be the perfect week to be super ambitious about what I would get done, proclaiming nearly double the writing goals I had in previous weeks. Lesson learned. Again.
- Vague writing goals aren’t going to cut it. I’d wanted to write a minimum of 45-minutes per day on my WIP, and although in her book The Memoir Project, Marion Roach Smith stresses the importance of scheduling this writing time as a consistent, daily block, I decided not to pin myself down to one specific time each day. I wanted to audition different time slots and choose the one with the best performance. The problem is, getting to this writing at all was a real struggle. I ended up writing 3 out of 7 days, and even that was difficult. If I’m going to write this book, I’m going to have to make dedicated time for it, and stick to it.
- My WIP needs its own home. I’m not talking about binders or notebooks or computer folders—I mean physical space. Every project I’ve worked on or book I’ve written has had a dedicated work environment. For example, my book Language of Love was written completely on the big comfy brown chair in the living room of my old house. Doable came to life in a coffee shop in Seattle. Here in Amsterdam, I typically tackle my business and branding work for my author site, book launch, and coaching practice at Anne & Max’s, a local cafe with the best mocha in town. But my WIP doesn’t have a home yet. I’ve been trying out the chaise in my bedroom, but I’m not sure that’s going to cut it. It might need it’s own spot—a place that I associate with writing and making true progress. Figuring out what and where this space is is going to be critical to this project.
- Launching a book is a ton of work. I know this well, but I’m typically of those uber productive people and am especially good at focusing and cranking out a lot in a short period of time. Enter homeschooling. It’s simply not possible for me to do as much as I’ve done in the past in much less time. And when I slip into my old habits, my son suffers, my work suffers, and I suffer. Yet…there’s a lot to be done. And I want to do it all. Learning this balance of doing what I can and being okay when things fall through the launch cracks is going to be part of my life’s work for a while.
- Shifting focus to other important To Dos is totally okay. Sure, I may have cheated on my work-in-progress after just going public with our relationship, but I was really just spending time with a beloved friend. I got A LOT of important things done that not only support my Doable launch, but are time-sensitive. So while I don’t feel super about neglecting my WIP, I do feel good about what I did get done.
- Thanksgiving week. Enough said.
To be honest, I’m little hesitant to list out a bunch of goals for the coming week. I don’t like not doing what I say I’m going to do. But that’s reality. Sometimes life is lifey.
So here goes…some kinder, gentler, other-focused goals for a stressed-out mama who has a few two many things on her plate:
- Continue going through my chronology binder and making related notes (aiming to spend 1-2 hours on this)
- Write one hour per day on my work-in-progress (9am – 10am each morning)
- Continue reading The Memoir Project
- Figure out my memoir’s algorithm (aim to do this on Thursday during my coffee shop time)
- Draft a personalized letter to accompany advance copies of Doable to media contacts and influencers
- Send out a big email to my lists about the Doable pre-order goodies, share the book trailer I just made, and act as the first “call to action” for the book launch (Wednesday)
- Edit one more video for the Doable Interview series and reach out to more women about interviewing them
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I hope you enjoyed this installment of Writer Unplugged! If you aren’t already on my email list, I encourage you to sign up below so you don’t miss any of the series!