Zen and the Art of Getting Real

In a previous blog, I shared about how time management and goal setting helps me almost effortlessly achieve big dreams. Let me further elucidate the practicalities of this.

As I mentioned, time management sounds simple, but there is an art to it. The creation of my current book, involves a color-coded writing schedule that spans Thanksgiving to Leprechaun Day…and all the holidays in between. Deadlines may have the mobility of granite, yet the demands of my family festivities grind on. There was food to be cooked, treats to be made, twinkle lights to be hung, presents to be purchased, and the laundry…oh the laundry.

I forgot to include that part in my deadline chart. Extra wine helps.

No one invites me to parties anymore, because when they sing out “Merry Christmas! Or Happy New Year! Or glorious Green Goblin Day!” I snarl that I should be working. I have a deadline. Maybe I’m the one who created that deadline, but hey, I’m committed. So no partying…I have my eye on the big prize.

Necessity being the mother of something (do I have time to research?), I discovered on-line shopping. Five minutes, tops! A zoom, a click and…crap. They’re out of stock until August 29th. Undaunted, I consulted my scheduled shopping/family/writing time and dived in. Frantically I typed a compelling, original, thought-provoking book blurb and clicked on my 14th on-line shopping choice. A poncho. In puce. I knew my daughter would love it.

We all have to make sacrifices.

I used to know how to time a dinner. Back when I was a happy homemaker, the reverse math of having everything done and smelling like heaven on earth so that we could all sit down to a full feast with a collective “Aaahhh!” was a no-brainer. That was before I discovered that Meredith, my feisty Irish heroine was zeroing in on McTavish, the moody second son of the lord (maybe he should be Scottish…maybe laird) and was running amok through my plot line. Damn…it was the drafty tower…

“Don’t you think the potatoes might be over-cooked?” Eldest daughter interrupts the death-defying leap from the battlements. I peer at the pot. Defined spuds are gone.

“They’re pre-mashed,” I explained. Fiction is my business.

So the roast was tough and I forgot to make gravy. It’s all about good times with family, right?

Inspired by cornucopia decorations and tattered tinsel (they look festive until Easter at least), I rewrote my biography template with variations for social media. Ready to go. When I got too tired to write, I gobbled whatever leftovers still smelled okay.

On schedule…sort of…

And then... Baby it's cold out there, so I’m staying in my jammies and bathrobe with the laptop on my knees. My dogs are lying at my feet with only the occasional mournful sigh. What is frolicking in the snow compared to the angst when Melanie…no Meredith…is forced into marriage with the villainous O’Rourke?

By the next weekend, I’m whipping up a blog entry and synopsis revision. Still cold. I stop answering the phone. My friends think I’ve emigrated to the Amazon Basin. According to my deadline chart, the first draft should be finished. Desperate, I plead fake flu to every text or email. A glance in the mirror almost convinces me the flu is real. The dogs lure me outside…lost in the snow. McTavish is lost in the blizzard…OMG…

There are two family birthdays being celebrated at my house next week. I’m committed to a speaking gig at the library. I need a new chart of revised deadlines…and a shower…got to have a shower…I’ll add it to my schedule…

And there’s a new idea tickling the back of my mind. I’ll begin writing that…soon. I just have to stay focused. I sleep with the schedule under my pillow.

And that’s how a professional writer sets goals and meets deadlines. Read it and weep.