Blasts of frigid air out of the Yukon have sunk many of us into arctic conditions. Here in Northeast Montana we’ve taken to wearing three to four layers of clothes when we venture outside. Inside, we have our thermostat set on 65° and we still use afghans and lap robes to keep warm.
We’re not alone, though. Much of the country is facing the same conditions and many aren’t prepared for it. We do have that advantage up here in the Rockies. We’re also used to anticipating such needs months in advance.
Weather and writing?
Some may be wondering what this weather report has to do with writing. It’s this. If you experienced an avalanche of work in the past, you’ve learned how to prepare for another such event. If you understand how other chores, life situations, or projects must shift to accommodate the onslaught of new work, you can make room more easily and survive.
Last month I had several projects on my ‘To Finish List’ for NaNo. I got a few completed and out. I succeeded in that. That left a few projects awaiting further work this month, plus obligatory articles already scheduled for the month. In the middle of that list, add a story for a publication invitation and the Christmas holidays. Enter the avalanche, full-blown.
Handling the To-Be-Done
Can I get everything done before the end of the month? That remains to be seen. The blessing is that I’ve been here before and I can anticipate steps to secure the best outcome for me.
- If an item has no deadline, give it one based on priority
- Put all projects on a timeline for scheduling, ranked by deadline dates
- Be sure to add time for domestic appointment(s) and tasks for holidays and double up where possible
- Allow for minimal social media participation throughout the month
- Complete each project quickly and efficiently and send it out before moving on
- If a project can’t/won’t come together in a timely manner, skip it for later and go to the next in line.
- Don’t skip more than one project this month
Looks daunting, doesn’t it? It is, but if I don’t prepare this way, I’ll lose too much ground in completing what’s on my desk. My January 2014 Editorial Calendar is set, except for last minute entries like guest posts.
My planning acts as a series of snow fences to break the waves of work into doable chunks. In the next two weeks I’ll be able to get several things done and out. One of the remaining larger pieces—my short story-turned-novella will be ready for final edit by the end of the month. That first week of January is slated for clean-up duties on my calendar.
A quick look at reality vs. planning
I take risks and persevere. I have three articles and two short stories which will definitely go out long before Christmas. A third short story will go out Christmas week and my second How-To Slay a Writer’s Dragon book will be ready for Kindle by the last week of the month. It’s almost ready for final edit and formatting now. I’ll have to see if I can pull off the cookbook that same week. I’m not sure about that one, I admit.
You see, I know what needs done, when it needs to be done, and have a good handle on how much I can complete. That’s three-quarters of the game right there. And make no mistake—this is all a great board game with rules, playing pieces, and motivated players.
The unshakable rule not be forgotten on this kind of schedule is simple. Butt remains in chair at all times unless scheduled otherwise. Fingers keep flying across keyboard until a project is complete. And attitude must be one of confidence and perseverance.
NOTE: Okay, so butt will move for the unexpected calls of nature, but otherwise, it will go to sleep before rising from the chair seat.
Have a good week, everyone, with your own holiday avalanches. Build those snow fences high and strong. You can do it. I know you can.