Writing through the mud

The last remnants from our latest snowfall (yes, I know it’s May…) have melted, and the resulting mud is drying up. But the dogs go hiking every day no matter how muddy it is. πŸ™‚ Walking along a stretch of muddy trail with an inch of mud stuck to the bottom your shoes is kind of how I’ve felt lately. I’ve been so close to finishing up my last few projects, but being close to finishing for two weeks starts to make you wonder if you’ll ever actually finish at all, even if you can see progress every day.

In spite of the slow pace that I’ve been at lately (which does not equate to time spent – sometimes writing just goes more slowly), I really, truly am almost caught up on everything!!! Just a few more days…

My next goal is to get ahead on stories that have planned deadlines. Things always come up, of course, but right now there are seven stories that I’ve committed to delivering over the next year, so once I wrap up my current projects I’m going to write those stories and not wait to start until closer to when they’re due.

In retrospect, while I could have been more on top of my own time management over the past year, it’s also interesting to look at why I got behind in the first place. Participating in story bundles on a regular basis has meant regular writing deadlines, which is something I’d never before experienced. It’s one thing to finish a story, then look for a magazine or anthology to submit it to. Writing a story that has a hard and fast deadline is something else entirely. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my writing because of all of this.

One of my most important lessons is one I just figured out a week or so ago. I like to be super busy, so if I’m not at my day job I’m writing, doing chores, playing with my dogs, or organizing something-or-other. Occasionally I’ll procrastinate and do something else, but when I do stuff like that I know I’m squandering time when I should be productive. What I’ve recently realized is that I need to start scheduling downtime. Just the thought of spending time doing something fun but not productive seems weird, even though it used to feel normal. πŸ™‚ But without giving myself time in which I’m explicitly not supposed to accomplish things, I end up either always busy, or feeling irresponsible when I’m goofing off. We’ll see how this goes…

Jasper and Rosie, only slightly muddy.

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