Lately, getting things done has been hard. It’s not that we’re not getting things done. It’s just that there is a lot going on and being linear is challenging. Marketing materials have been ordered, Starling‘s final edits are being completed, reviews are being secured, blog tours are being booked — and meanwhile we’re signing contracts and getting schedules on new things, tuning other new things up for submission, looking ahead to the Doves edit process, and are about 15K into another novel. In fact, this not very coherent list probably leaves out at least half a dozen things.
The What should I do now? question is never a matter of not having anything to do, but of having a lot to do. A real, real lot.
It’s easy to say that the answer is multitasking. Or prioritizing. Obviously. Modern technology forces us to do the first, and meeting deadlines obligates us to do the second, but sometimes neither of those pressures is enough to get you focused on just getting something, anything, done.
When that’s the case, sometimes the answer is just to do what turns you on. I don’t mean sexually (although in this business that’s a possibility), so much as I mean what excites you. Got a deadline three days away that you can meet with an hour of work? Well,you can actually put that off one more day if your energy is low for that task, and do the thing that’s further out but more exciting. Doing the work you love can at times be the fuel for doing the part of the work you don’t love.
Starting at the beginning and getting to the end is great — and necessary — advice. So much about Do the Thing! is just getting people on board with the reality that we can all plod our way to success with the right combination of diligence and daring.
But sometimes diligence is hard, and it’s more important to do something than the exact thing it would be most appropriate for your schedule to do that second — again, as long as you don’t blow any deadlines.
So this is your permission to work out of order, to write that scene that lives at the 75% mark of the novel you’re only 15% into, or to work on your marketing plan, because doing line edits feels just a little too painful today. If you can make the parts of the work you love your reward for the parts of the work that you enjoy quite a bit less you can both satisfy your need to procrastinate and get crap done.
You are the way you are. You don’t need to change who you are to get what you want. You just need to figure out how to navigate it. Sometimes, that means telling your stories out of order. It’s generally preferable to not telling them at all.