Interchangeable Goals

Sometimes, you just have to be good with getting anything done at all.

At least, that’s my perspective on things these days. Normally, I’d beat myself up over not hitting a certain word count per day. Or failing to work on novel revisions. Okay, so I still beat myself up over these things. But I beat myself up less. Which is important, relatively speaking.

I digress.

Getting mad at myself for failing to complete certain tasks repeatedly isn’t productive and tends to throw me into a cycle of failure. That is, if I failed yesterday, I’ll fail today, so why even try?

But this negative self-talk is harmful and counterproductive. I still engage in it often, but trying to put my focus onto what I do accomplish is much more helpful. For instance, I didn’t write any new fiction today.  But I did write this blog post and finish a critique for a writing friend that I’ve owed him since forever (sorry!). That feels good to check off the to-do list. Once I finish this post, I may even conquer revisions on something small, like a short story or a scene in my novel.

My point here is if a strict plan of action isn’t working for you and causing too much stress or self doubt, dial it back. This doesn’t mean you should change your goals; rather, it means you should refocus them. Become flexible. So long as you’re accomplishing something you want to accomplish, be happy. I’m hoping that checking things off my to-do list on a daily basis will inspire me and build the confidence I need to tackle larger projects.

I know this all sounds like armchair psychology. Honestly, it probably is. But I’m trying to work through complex mental blocks in how I view tasks, failure, and success. Bear with me as I struggle. And please, feel free to share your suggestions in the comments.

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Confessions of a Submissions Slacker

Those of you who follow my blog (or read my ravings on Twitter) know it’s been a busy couple of months. Still, I’m not one for making excuses and I have a confession to make:

My submission numbers have been pretty poor, yo.

Last year, I was excellent at resubmitting stories. Rejection comes in? That sucks. Oh well. Off to the next market. But this year, rejected stories have been piling up on my harddrive. They sit there mocking me with their potential, erm, potential. “We are finished,” they cry, “no one is reading us!” they moan. “Nobody loves us,” they say in some other fashion.

And while I’m getting slightly better at resubmitting stories that are rejected, there’s still a whole slew of them sitting and waiting to find new markets. I have a backlog. The worst part is I know these stories aren’t doing me any good just sitting there. Finding time is difficult for researching new markets and organizing submissions. Like most writers I know, I use Duotrope to keep track of everything. Other than that, I use the post-it feature on my Mac’s Dashboard to note which stories are currently on submission and which ones still need to be sent out.

It may not be a perfect system, but it works for me. Well, it works for me when I actually use it. Still, I have 13 stories on submission right now and 7 I need to kick back out the door. It was worse last month, trust me. I also have 4 poems that need resubmitting.

*sigh* It’s easy to get overwhelmed with writer to-do lists. It never ends, really. Even blogging on a regular basis has eluded me.

What’s your strategy for keeping your submissions “out”? What do you do when you amass a backlog?

I’m off to go send out all the stories ever. Or, you know, try to resubmit one story before another rejection comes in. *hides from her inbox*