Thursday, June 11, 2009

Focusing on a moving target

I've often wondered if I have what it takes to be a sniper. First off, you are a long distance away from your target. You ahve to be aware of wind speed, the accuracy of your scope and gun, the twitches that may occur when you squeeze the trigger. So, even though you are still and the target is still, everything else is moving.

That's the way I feel about my to-do lists. They are static and the world around them keeps changing. I try to pick out what I think are the must-dos, and then I work my way down the list until I get to some of the lesser important stuff. Those who know me will understand that dusting and weeding are always at the bottom of my list.

I have real deadlines for things. This comes from my weekly deadlines at the newspaper, but also the understanding that if I don't show weekly progress on my writing, there will be no new book. That's pretty darn scarey and a heck of a motivator, let me tell you. Many people know I'm a writer. I even have something of a following. People ask me everywhere I go: when's your next book coming out. Let me tell you, that is something I want to be able to answer with a date.

Focusing on a moving target is hard. First off, as conditions change, something you thought wasn't very important suddenly gets bumped to the head of the list. Then you have to deal with that. I don't surprise well, but I am getting better at predicting which thing will need my immediate attention.

Then, the most important thing of all, learning how to turn off the lists. I reach a point of saturation each day and I'm done. Recognizing when I'm done is key to quality work whether its my freelance work or my books.

Tomorrow will dawn fresh and new, and I will have another opportunity to get important work done. Meanwhile, its been a long day, and I'm done. Catch you later.

a fresh new voice in southern fiction

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