Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Real Job

by Annette Dashofy

For several weeks, I’ve been hearing “once the conference is over, you’re not going to know what to do with yourself.”

Ah, if only.

I knew what I wanted to do with myself. WRITE. But over the last couple of months, I’ve been putting off certain unpleasant tasks by claiming I didn’t have time. Things like dental appointments. Annual check ups. And not just for me. For my mom and my hubby, too. You see, since I don’t have a “real job,” I’m the family chauffeur.

The June page of my calendar is crammed with notations. None of it’s fun. And I haven’t made ALL the appointments yet. Skye is due for a trip to the vet. (Don’t tell her!) But they’re now overflowing into July!

This is NOT how I planned to spend my summer!

Last night I sat down with my appointment book and did the only thing I could do under the circumstances. I scheduled writing time. Blocks of it.

“No, I can’t schedule my gum graft on that day. I have to work.” They understand “work.” And if I plan to attain my goal of writing as a career—complete with income—I must look at it as work that cannot be brushed aside for every little thing. It must become a “real job.”

Martha’s post yesterday started me thinking. I really do need a deadline. Since it’s self-imposed, we’ll call it a goal on steroids. And I’m pronouncing it here for everyone to see.

I will complete my first draft by mid August.

Furthermore, I will revise and edit and rewrite until I have a completed, finished manuscript by Thanksgiving.

Feel free to hold me to it. Ask me: Hey, Annette, how’s the writing going?

I know my critique buddy, Paula, will have no problems with this. She starts nagging when I’m one day late with a promised chapter! Keep it up, girlfriend!

Does anyone else out there want to put it all on the line and set a goal/deadline for themselves? Post it here! Misery loves company.


Joyce said...

Annette, I'll be your partner in misery. I'll have my first draft done by mid-August, too. We can nag each other.

Lately, I've been doing everything else except writing, (although I did have one good writing day last week). I have to put the writing first, which isn't easy when there's a million other things that need to be done--or that other people think need to be done.

Anonymous said...

Too funny! Okay, so that's August 16, 2009, right?

Oh, I'll certainly keep nagging. Count on it.


Wilfred Bereswill said...

I'll join you all. I'll have the draft of my next book done at the end of June (about 20,000 more words) and the final ready to go by the end of July.

Annette said...

All right! We have a team! Let the nagging begin!

Okay, Paula. August 16 it is. For Will, it's June 30th.

Ready. Set. GO.

Jennie Bentley said...

I'd join if I could, but I'm between books and working on proposals. We're going back to contract in June. After that, we'll see what my deadlines are. I feel very... floaty, somehow.

Karen in Ohio said...

Gulp, I'm going to commit to having at least a couple chapters done by then. This is a book I've been thinking about for two years, but have yet to write a paragraph.

You can do it, Annette!

Word verification: shali I shall!

Wilfred Bereswill said...

I'm really putting an aggressive goal out there, by the way. My normal day is wake at 5:45 AM get to work by 6:45, work until 5:30 or so, get home at 6:30 (damn traffic), eat dinner. By then it's 7 and the wife if yanking me out the door to go for a walk (the 3 mile kind).

It's just hard to get 1,000 words in there.

Sorry, I had to vent.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I feel like a chauffeur, too! I may have to send my kids off to camp all summer to reach my writing goals. I have a publisher-imposed deadline for Sept.1, but think I'll set myself a first-draft deadline for June 30. If this sounds like I'm a speed writer, I'll confess I'm already 50,000 words into the 75,000 word ms. :)
Mystery Writing is Murder

queenofmean said...

Annette - when you said you sat down with your appointment book & did the only thing you could, the first thing that came to my mind was: cleared the calendar!

I'll be brave & set a goal, too. I'm dragging my feet on finishing up my first draft. I'll go with mid-August to have it done.

Annette said...

Queen, I have been known to do just that. Unfortunately, I've BEEN clearing it to make time for conference planning and all those appointments had to end up somewhere.

Looks like we have two deadlines. Will and Elizabeth are shooting for the end of June. Joyce, Karen, Queen and I are aiming for mid August.

We'll check back every couple of weeks for progress reports.

Anonymous said...

Well, I certainly should join, shouldn't I? If I can dish it out, yadda yadda yadda.

My goal is to have this draft done by mid-August. Shall we both shoot for Aug. 16th, Annette?


Annette said...

Okay, Paula. You're on the list. Now where's your next chapter???

Anonymous said...

You'll get the next two chapters on Saturday. This coming Saturday. In less than 48 hours.

Oh, crap. Hope my writing's as good as my word.

Paula (who didn't wimp out by deleting this)

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