After yesterday’s session of putting off working on my book proposal and not buying the drone I was coveting, I felt writing about it gave me the kick up the bum I needed to get moving. Yes, OK, writing about it didn’t get me any closer to where I needed to be, but it created the space in my head to do something about it.
Sometimes, I think (for me anyway) it is useful to simply acknowledge that you’re putting something off. Rather than thinking that it will be fine so long as it sits snugly on your to-do list. Which “write book proposal” has for something like three weeks now. I actually have the physical paper lists as a solemn reminder that this still hasn’t been done.
As someone who coined the idea of Finish Stuff Friday, as a means to tick off those stubborn things on your to-do list, I feel somewhat of a hypocrite this week (ahem, past few weeks) for not simply sitting down and getting a first draft done. I am not looking for polished yet, but something which might be sendable would be a good start at least.
As you can imagine, for something to be passed from week to week on the to-do list of someone who prides themselves in productivity and getting things done, there has to be something behind it. And there is, if I let myself validate it with an abundance of excuses.
When there is something you need or really want to do, it is easy to fall into the trap of finding excuses not to do it. For a fear of failure, or your thinking around it being more painful to do than it really is. While we spend our time on an arheological dig for historic excuses, we actually feed into the fear of getting the job done.
I know this from personal experience and not just from my putting off the book proposal. I know full well that to get things done, I just need to do them. Get on with it. And I have been brilliantly at doing this with our house move. I will dedicate a whole morning to emailing, phoning, and doing the paperwork to chivvy things up. But at the same time, I don’t give my personal project of writing a book (or even the proposal, which is the first rung on the ladder) the same kind of prominence in my day.
What’s stopping me
The idea of being busy with more important things. Even my friend (also a writer) said that I should concentrate on my packing as there will be time for writing later. This is true, but it certainly doesn’t get me any closer to sending out a pitch or securing an agent before the end of my furlough in March. A time when I have to think solidly about whether I go it salary/contract-free or whether I try to get a job to keep my bank account topped up.
I also do actually have a lot to do around the house move. I am indeed also using it as an excuse for not giving a decent amount of time to working on my writing though, which I recognise. The trouble is shaking off that need to prioritise the house.
The looming deadline for both feels like the kind of kick up the bum I need to make time for both.
Recognising my achievements
While I am giving myself a kick up the bum and thinking that I am doing nothing, I have in fact, on reflection, done quite a bit of preparation for my writing work. Something I should really be acknowledging while I get to work on the proposal itself.
What I have done this week:
📌 Found a potential agent who is currently looking for my kind of writing and aims
📒 Set up my Notion section and started populating it with ideas, research and links
🔍 Discovered some fitness and wellbeing activities to get me started (I will join the session on Sunday!)
✍️ Written a basic outline (and shared the title and premise with another writer friend, who liked it!)
🗣️ Chatted through ideas around having a writers Slack and support network for writing