Sidetracked Again

I don’t know about you, but I’m easily sidetracked. At least, that’s been my m.o. for as long as I can remember. I love getting lost in my own anecdotal cul de sacs, but those kinds of adventures haven’t always led me to finishing important projects in a timely manner, if at all. Typically I find myself in the middle of writing a novel, and before I can maneuver myself through it, I’m already thinking about what it is I want to write next. In detail. In minute specifics. And my creative energy becomes refocused on something so totally new that there’s no room left in my head to deal with what it was I was doing or thinking of prior to going off course. Talk about self-sabotage!

So, what happens is I have a good dozen books, blogs, proposals, and schemes half done brilliantly, the second halves of which not even started. I’m an idea machine with the discipline of a toad. Not a healthy state to be in when one needs to “get ‘er done!” What to do? Oh, what to do?

Yet, more importantly the question I must ask myself is why. Why do I have the tendency to jump ship right when I’m steaming into port?

Basically? FEAR! Fear of failure, fear of disrespect, fear of disappointment, and fear of success—of discovering I am remarkably adept at what it is I’m attempting to accomplish.

Okay; so, if it’s fear, then what do I do to get passed it?Everyone is different, naturally, and must find their own way over life’s hurdles. But these are just a few of the things I do, which in the past have helped me get back on course:

  1. Set a calendar of small goals leading to finishing the larger project and stick to it.
  2. Give myself permission to become sidetracked, but limit the adventure to just a few hours or days, depending on the size of the endeavor itself.
  3. Make completion a game, complete with an exciting reward. (I sometimes encourage myself by setting up a prize for staying on the path without derailing—a prize which I truly value and wouldn’t as a rule earn.)
  4. Get a friend or project pal to be my accountability coach. Sometimes I just need a little nudging from a concerned and invested individual.
  5. And finally, forgive myself if I wander off into the wild, blue yonder. Some adventures are worth the distraction.

 

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2 Responses to Sidetracked Again

  1. Beth Carter says:

    I can relate. I’m an idea machine too, not well organized, and easily distracted. Squirrel! (Or in my case, Facebook.)

    I have finally been able to focus on my Coconuts series since I’m under contract for several books. That has pushed me AND stressed me out at the same time! 🙂

    I love your idea of rewards and do that as well. I also name the novel that’s distracting me, open a file, and jot down the plot and main characters so I won’t forget. But I try hard to get back on track quickly (or shop and clear my head!!)

    Great post and best of luck. I ADORE the covers you showed me at RWA. Also, your premise is fantastic. Just do it so I can read them, Gwen!!

  2. viola62 says:

    I’m also an “idea machine,” and like you, I reward myself in small ways when i complete something.

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