A Date is Just a Date, As Time Goes By

I get all excited and focus on how cool it is to finish things. I get excited about releasing 6 books at the same time, and having it fall on 11/11/11 because, hey, isn’t that nifty? I plan great big audacious things because I know I can do them.

What I don’t do is focus on the process which will get me there.

I think I’m gonna kill me some goals.

Wouldn’t it be fun to release a brand new mystery on the same day your first MP3 goes on sale? Of course it would!

Wouldn’t it be smart to plan wisely, schedule the time and emotional effort it takes to, step by step, reach that goal? Of course it would!

When you do the former but not the latter, it’s frustrating, to yourself, and to anyone watching who cares about you.

When you do it repeatedly for years, it’s time to ask yourself (feel free to sound like a six-and-a-half-foot-tall Texan) “How’s that workin’ for ya?”

One more layer of the onion (parfait?) — I already love making bold plans. I need to do a better job of loving doing the work every day to reach them. Steven Pressfield calls it “turning pro” in his book The War of Art (and also in the follow-up, Turning Pro.) Getting out of bed each day and doing the work to plod, slowly but surely toward the finish line.

My book, anodyne, will easily be the best thing I’ve ever written. My song, Into the Sunset, is one of the best songs I’ve ever written. Both deserve to be lovingly crafted, not shoved through too small a hole because I made a public commitment to a memorable date but then wasn’t professional enough to do the work.

Date’s off. The book will be done within a couple months, because it needs a solid rewrite, a month in a drawer to stew (thank you to another Steve, Stephen King), and then another rewrite and editing.

The song will be released within a couple months, depending on the schedules of the steel guitar player, the fiddle player, and the drummer.

Releasing 6 books simultaneously on 11/11/11 was a lot of work, and didn’t do a thing for sales, recognition, appreciation, or any other desired outcome. Pushing for 12/12/12 in unlikely to have any more effect than that.

So I ain’t gonna do it.

3 thoughts on “A Date is Just a Date, As Time Goes By

  1. Good for you!

    Indeed ~ artificial deadlines, no matter what the “reasoning” behind them, or whether they’re internal or external, do little-to-nothing for quality of output or stress levels (a chronic problem these days, which *also* affects quality).

  2. Yeah, I’ve found that my creative projects can’t be forced. It took me 3 years not 6 months to finish a CD a decade ago. It’s taking me over 9 years, not 2 years to finish my current writing project. But I DO set goals, even if it’s just to write 7 hours a week. And I’m blogging once a week, tho everyone tells me I need to do it nearly every day to build my “platform.” Errrrg.

  3. I wouldn’t worry about blogging every day, John, but more often would be nice, partly ’cause I’d like to read your stuff more often.

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